After what happened in the Suez Canal, cargo freight shipping might not be the most popular choice for shipping logistics at the moment. Many people fear for the safety and timing of their products, especially if expensive and rare, to be delivered properly to showroom floors or to their final customers.
As a seasoned fashion brand or designer, international or long haul shipping through cargo freight may be one of your only options to move products around. Or at least, it’s something you are considering. But what are some of the things to be cognizant of when shipping through these means?
What is Cargo Freight Shipping?
Cargo Freight Shipping is the process of shipping vast quantities of heavy or bulky freight containers on cargo ships throughout the world. These shipments are meant to be intercontinental, hold large quantities of products, and sail through open waters.
Freight shipping has even been used to transport products as diverse, expensive, and unpredictable as livestock and automobiles. The ships used in this transport are optimized and customized to the weight and shipments they are carrying, as well as the waters and weather conditions they expect to go through.
Many companies opt into this type of shipment to move large quantities of products, heavy equipment, or products traveling long distances. Mostly this is due to it being a cheaper option than land and air travel due to cost-prohibitive restrictions on weight, size, and distance. Those restrictions in land and air travel have resulted in little to no backup or waitlist to use sea shipments, as each transport carries vast quantities of items each journey.
Some people even find freight shipping to be more environmentally friendly since the ships can carry larger and heavier loads of cargo and lower the number of total trips needed.
Dangers of Freight Shipping for Fashion Brands
However, as we saw during March 2021, shipping through bodies of water does come with potentially costly drawbacks for your brand.
If your shipment experiences issues at sea or through other bodies of water restricting the path forward, you may find yourself waiting on delayed products that could set you behind schedule and interfere with other business operations. This, unfortunately, is not something found as often in land and air shipping as weather and other causes have little effect on their ability to move forward on schedule.
Strong weather at high seas can also endanger freights, and at times topple cargo containers over into the sea. Unfortunately, these containers cannot be resurfaced or salvaged, costing brands large amounts of inventory and disrupting ecosystems beneath the surface.
Although not considered excessively dangerous, the risk of piracy also makes shipping across the open seas less safe as compared to land or air.
Finally, due to the sheer number and bulk of cargo containers, it may be difficult to properly keep track of products put through the shipment process. Many identical cargo containers sit on board the average freight vessel, and your product could be mixed together with other products and shipments to fill up a single one. This consolidation often results in a time cost when it comes to sorting out exactly where your products ended up in the container mix and how to get them segmented out and moved along to your next location.
Shipping products may be the last phase and mindset when bringing a product to market, but it is a critical consideration to get apparel to customers. Many options for land, air, and sea transport exist for your brand to choose from, but the final decision relies on the amount of product, weight, and distance needed to ship. With any form of shipping, there are precautions you must be aware of, but you should always be prepared to find alternatives – in coordination with your manufacturing support team – where necessary to keep your inventory and operations on schedule.
Carson Ward studied at the George Washington University where he majored in International Business and Japanese. He has recently found interest in the fashion industry where he is trying to learn every aspect, from production to marketing and hopes to bring this passion in fashion to MakersValley. In his free time, Carson has been learning and teaching himself how to sew and craft clothes.