The Beginner’s Guide to Sea Freight

For any business, regardless of industry, trying to decide which is the most efficient and beneficial method for international shipping can be a challenge.

In this blog, our experts at Allegro Freight Forwarding explore the role sea freight plays in global supply chains and the advantages and impact of this transport solution.

What is Sea Freight?

Sea freight, also known as ocean freight, is a shipping method which involves transporting large quantities of goods across international waters using carrier ships.

Unlike air, rail, or road transport, sea freight can ship at a far greater capacity, handling massive volumes of cargo.

Sea freight accommodates a wide variety of goods, ranging from electronics to raw materials.

What are the Benefits of Sea Freight?


One of the key advantages of sea freight is how cost-effective it is. When compared to air freight, shipping goods via sea tends to be significantly cheaper, especially for large volumes or bulky items.

The economies of scale in sea freight often translate to lower costs per unit, making it an attractive choice for businesses that are aiming to optimise their transportation expenses.


Another benefit of this method of transportation is flexibility. Sea freight can handle large quantities of goods, which may appeal to businesses that are looking to succeed in widespread market penetration.

Global Reach and Accessibility

Sea freight ships navigate many and various ports that connect the continents. This enables businesses to enter into diverse markets and expand their reach across the globe.

Versatility for Cargo

Sea freight is suitable for a variety of industries due to its versatility. Shipping vessels can accommodate a wide range of cargo types, from vehicles to consumer goods, making it the ideal transport solution for businesses from all sectors.

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Reduced Risk of Damage

When it comes to shipping goods one of the key concerns is any damage which may occur on route. The cargo on ships is held in secure containers, which protects against external factors such as bad weather conditions, reducing the risk of damage during transit.

Environmental Impact

While it may come as a surprise, sea freight presents a relatively eco-friendly transportation option compared to air freight. This is because ships emit less carbon dioxide per ton of cargo transported, contributing to a comparatively lower carbon footprint.

Additionally, recent advancements in sustainable logistic practices, also known as ‘Green Maritime’ or ‘Green Shipping’, such as the use of cleaner fuels and innovative hull designs aim to further reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.

What are the Drawbacks of Sea Freight?

Time sensitivity

While sea freight offers cost advantages, it falls short in terms of speed. Compared to air freight, shipping by sea often involves longer transit time.

This aspect can pose significant challenges for industries that manufacture perishable goods, or those that require rapid delivery, impacting their ability to meet time-sensitive demands.

Weather and External Factors

As with most modes of transportation, certain circumstances can affect the efficiency of shipping that businesses cannot control.

The unpredictability of weather conditions at sea presents a significant risk for sea freight. Storms, rough seas, and other natural events can cause delays. The unfortunate consequence of this is that it leads to other logistic challenges causing huge disruptions in supply chains.

Avoiding these issues requires a great deal of planning and various contingency measures.

Infrastructure Limitations

Port infrastructure, capacity constraints, and congestion at ports are factors that can present logistical hurdles for sea freight. Bottlenecks in the transportation network can lead to delays and increased costs. Addressing these issues would require significant investment in infrastructure development to help streamline operations.

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Which Goods Can Be Transported Via Sea Freight?

Sea freight is a method of shipping that is appropriate for a wide range of goods, including:

Non-Perishable Items

Items that have a long shelf life or no expiry dates such as furniture, clothing or electronics do not require hasty transportation, which makes them ideal for shipping by sea.

Heavy Machinery and Vehicles

Unlike air freight, one of the key benefits of sea freight is its capacity to handle bulky cargo, which is why it is the perfect choice for businesses that need to ship large or heavy machinery and vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

For example, one industry that would benefit particularly well from sea freight is vehicle manufacturers. Sea freight makes exporting and importing finished vehicles or components possible.

How Sea Freight Helps to Maintain Supply Chains

The success of global trade relies on the movement of goods from various industries. Shipping connects manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers across the world, and some industries, such as automotive, electronics, and retail rely heavily on sea freight to ensure a steady supply of components and finished products.

Choosing sea freight also helps to mitigate risk in supply chains. This is because by diversifying transportation methods, businesses can hedge against disruptions in a single mode of transport.

In scenarios like the recent pandemic, disruptions affected certain transport routes, but sea freight provided a reliable alternative, ensuring the continuity of goods.

International Shipping Solutions from Allegro Logistics

At Allegro Freight Forwarding our team of freight specialists offers fully managed services, covering air, sea, and road freight across the world, along with tailored solutions for e-commerce order fulfilment.

Whether it’s transporting goods across oceans or managing intricate e-commerce logistics, we’re ready to assist, ensuring everything runs seamlessly and efficiently.

To find out more about our services, or to partner with us on your international shipping endeavour, get in touch with our team today.

Full-Service Freight Forwarding with Allegro

Make sure that you are using a fully certified, trusted freight forwarder to ship your goods. They will have the connections and expertise needed to make sure that your expectations are exceeded through vigorous compliance.

At Allegro Freight Forwarding, we work hard to make your life easy. Our team can fully manage your freight, from choosing the transportation method that’s best for you to navigating the complexities of customs and borders. Our end-to-end solution takes all the hassle out of shipping by collaborating with our sister company to supply your logistics needs.

Contact a member of the team – the solution to your forwarding needs could be just one call away. Check out our range of services, or find out more about freight forwarding with our article on its differences with logistics.

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