Due to the long duration of sea shipping, shippers should be mindful of cargo that may have sensitives to temperature, or have specific expiration dates. Cargo shipped in a container along regular shipping lanes may easily take up to two months to reach its destination, especially when customs clearance and demurrage are taken into account. Containers will remain sealed, and will be exposed to the sun and elements throughout the duration of its journey, meaning contents can be subject to extreme heat or extreme cold.
- Medical cargo – pharmaceuticals Pharmaceuticals and consumables that have expiration dates must be handled with transit times in mind. Many countries won’t import medical goods with less than 18 months of shelf life left, a time constraint that starts at the point of customs. This means medical goods must be procured and shipped with even longer shelf lives. Shippers should know the import procedures of the intended destination and plan accordingly. Temperature sensitive items may need reefer storage, even if not expressly stated by the manufacturer.
- Food stuffs – containerized Containerized food items should be prepped for long storage – special temperature requirements must be identified up front, and fumigation may be required prior to loading.
- Dangerous Goods – sea Sea shipping standards around dangerous goods are less stringent, but must still be accounted for. Some DG items are reactive to metal, meaning long term exposure to shipping containers might actually damage the container resulting in additional cost to the shipper. Other DG items become combustible with increased heat – even though cargo at origin or destination may not be exposed to extreme temperatures, containers can be offloaded and held in extremely hot climates while waiting transhipping on another vessel.
- The number, type and size of ships that can be handled at one time.
- Typical vessel waiting and discharge times.
- Availability of equipment to handle different types of consignment – for example, bulk, bagged, loose, containers etc., and its state of repair.
- Availability of labour, working hours and typical discharge rates for both manually.
- Unloaded cargo and containers.
- Operational factors that may constrain activity such as the risk of congestion or the impact of the weather at certain times.
- Port documentation requirements and the efficiency of procedures for clearing cargo.
- Storage facilities and infrastructure such as railways, roads.
Where the movement of goods is to an area under the control of the local public authority, a clear understanding of the requirements covering movement of goods must be obtained from the appropriate authority prior to initiating any movement.