Why are sea freight transit times slower?

Efforts to cut costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, means the world's largest cargo ships are travelling at lower speeds today than sailing clippers such as the Cutty Sark did more than 130 years ago.


Shipping lines are saving money and dramatically reducing CO2

Ship engines are designed to run at high speeds and burn the cheapest "bunker" oil - as they are not subject to the same air quality rules as cars. To give you an idea of how toxic this is, the Emma Maersk, first container ship in the E-class at 14,770+ TEU would burn around 300 tonnes of fuel a day, emitting as much as 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a day. This is about the same CO2 as the 30 lowest emitting countries in the world.

It's a no-brainer. Slower speeds reduce pollution but what the industry needs to do is to address its whole supply chain.

Simon Walmsley, WWF International's marine manager


The cost benefits are clear. When speed is reduced by 20%, fuel consumption is reduced by 40% per nautical mile. Slow steaming is here to stay. Its introduction has been the most important factor in reducing our CO2 emissions in recent years, and we have not yet realised the full potential. Our goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 25%.

Bo Cerup-Simonsen, Maersk spokesman


Why choose sea freight over other shipping methods'

Shipping by sea costs roughly between 18% to 25% of the cost of shipping by air. There’s likely to be less of a margin between the cost of shipping a small, light package (and sometimes shipping by air can even be the cheaper option), while heavier, larger shipments will always cost much less to ship by sea freight. The other import costs to consider are UK Duty and VAT (if payable), which are affected by the type of transportation you use for your goods. This bill is calculated as a percentage of the cost of both the goods and the shipping, so it follows that the cheapest method of transportation (usually sea freight) will also result in a lower Duty and VAT bill (on goods of equivalent value), lower costs overall and a better profit margin.


Sea freight is greener

Environmental issues are a growing concern for all businesses, and some may even have environmental targets that they need to adhere to. If you want to minimise your carbon footprint when importing or exporting, shipping by sea is the far more environmentally friendly option. Sending goods by air freight produces approximately 36x the amount of CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions as sending the equivalent by sea freight – a huge difference by anyone’s standards!


Think you might be paying too much shipping be sea freight'

How do you know if you're minimising any cost fluctuations due to shifting tariffs - currency or market rates' Selecting the best route and transport options' Manage connecting services cost effectively' Have the best packaging solution' Or getting the best customs documentation solution'

Hidden costs are difficult to spot unless you're an expert. If you want to find the best UK freight forwarder for your business - then complete the simple form below and get your FREE confidential Import & Export Audit started. Once it's complete you get a FREE FACT BASED REPORT by an expert in import and export - customs administration - transport and route options. Then you're free to decide what your next step is.

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