Tips for Minimizing Shipping Costs

shipping costs

If you are a high volume international shipper, you know the costs of shipping items are rising. This not only limits the amount of items that you are able to ship overseas, it can increase what you have to charge your importers, causing them to reduce volume.

Here are some helpful tips to reduce shipping costs when shipping internationally by sea.

Consider an Index-Linked Contract

Index linked contracts allows you to tie the cost of your shipping to an agreed upon price index. One index of choice would be an oil related index. This will allow you to avoid fuel surcharges when oil index prices are favorable.

Track the Number of Containers you Ship Annually

Keep detailed records of how many 20’ and 40’ containers you ship over time. If you are shipping a large volume of containers using the same shipping line, they may be willing to work with you and provide you with a volume discount.

This also may work in your favor if you have increased volumes at reoccurring times during the year. If your shipping line can anticipate that you will be moving a certain amount of cargo on a certain date, they can plan for it and might be willing to reduce your costs even further.

Reduce the Size of Bulk Items

If you are shipping prepackaged bulk items, you may be paying to ship a lot of empty space. It might be to your advantage to open up those bulk packages and consolidate the size of your shipment down to a more manageable size. Depending on the amount of space you save and the weight of the cargo, you should be able to reduce the amount of containers you need to send.

Have a Packing Plan

If you frequently ship the same items, track your packing methods. You may be able to work with an industrial packing company to come up with an optimized packing diagram. This can be used to optimize your container space.

Use the Proper Container

Ship your volume items in 40’ containers and your heavy items in 20’ containers. That is what they are built for and how you can best limit the amount of space that your cargo takes up. This will reduce the amount of containers you need.

Consider Mixing Loads

Generally 40’ containers are used to ship volume items, and 20’ containers are for heavy items. You can reach the weight limit of a 20’ container long before you fill its volume.

If you find yourself with excess space, add some volume items to a heavy container to utilize space that would otherwise go empty.

Your goal should be to reduce the number of containers you ship by about 15% to see a significant savings. Consider professionals in industrial packing like Cratex Group to help you maximize the usefulness of your shipping costs.