Home About Contact  
Export Assistance
Guides to Exporting
Finding Export Finance
Export Consultants
Export Documentation
Register as an exporter
Proforma Invoice
Commercial Invoice
Letters of credit
Packing Lists
Exchange Control Forms
Insurance Forms
Customs Documents
Document Completion Guide
Export Training
Training providers
Training calendar
Export Guide
Export Marketing
What is involved in export Marketing?
Export Marketing Channels
Using Export Agents
Finding Export Agents
The Role of Trade Fairs
Preparing to participate in a Trade Fair
Finding Trade Fairs
Inward Bound Missions
Outward Bound Missions
The Internet and Exporting
Website internationalisation
Export portals
Overseas Trade Missions
Embassies and Consulates
Financial Assistance for Export Marketing
ETO Systems
Dealing with Export Environments
Trade Agreements
Export Tools
Export Readiness Checker
Export Checklists
Export Business Planner
Export SWOT Analyser
Country Risk Evaluator
Product map
Translation Resources
Currency Converter
Export Documentation
Document Completion Guide
SA and Foreign Tariff Databases
Export Software & Technology solutions
Tracking tools
Exporting & the internet
Export e-Newsletter
Export Law
Laws affecting Exports
Maritime Insurance
Exchange Control
SA Export Regulations
Trade/Maritime Lawyers
ITC Services

Step 16: Handling the export logistics

You are here:Step 16: Handling the export logistics > Sea freight



Sea freight



Sea freight is the most economic form of transportation by which goods are moved between countires in the export process. What is more, the use of containerisation for packing and carrying goods has greatly increased the volumes of cargo moved by sea, the speed of transit and the safety of the cargo in question.

The following factors should be taken into account when considering the transit times for goods being carried by sea. These are:

  • The frequency of sailing
  • The actual sailing time between the port of loading and the port of discharge
  • If the sailing is a direct sailing or a transshipment sailing; that is to say will the vessel sail directly to the port of discharge or will the cargo be placed on a second vessel and then delivered to a final port of discharge
  • Is the sailing an inducement sailing, the vessel will only call the port of loading or discharge if there is sufficient cargo to load or discharge

Types of shipping companies

There are three types of shipping companies servicing South African ports they are:

  • Liner operators - vessels that carry containers (6 and 12 metre containers) these sail on fixed dates and to predetermined ports
  • Charter operators - vessels that are utilised for a specific voyage
  • Tanker and dry bulk operators - vessels that carry bulk cargo such as oil and grains

Conference vs non-conference

Liner operators in turn can be divided into two further categories, namely:

  • Conference operators
  • Independent or non-conference operators

Conference services

A conference line is a group of two or more shipping lines, which enter into an agreement to adopt the use of a common freight rate. They provide regular scheduled sailings on specific routes. The advantages of the conference lines are regular scheduled services even when volumes of cargoes are low, conference lines will call the port of loading and or the discharge port. The other major benefit of using a conference vessel is; should you miss the sailing of one conference vessel, then you can slot your cargo onto the next available vessel, provided that the vessel is a member of the same conference.

Independent or non-conference operators

Independent or non-conference operators, operate within their own rate structures and sailing schedules. They are not contractually bound into a conference agreement. The advantage of the independent lines is that they are generally more competitive in their freight rate structures. The independent operators however do not have the same obligations as conference lines and are entitled to change their services to suit market conditions. There are however successful independent operators that quote competitive rates and provide regular sailings.

Types of ships operating in international trade

A visit to any harbour around the world will highlight the many different types of ships that one finds plying international waters. We have listed the msot common types of ships operating in international waters below:

  • Cellular or multipurpose - ships that are built to carry containerised cargo and also break bulk cargoes
  • Conventional break-bulk - ships that carry only breakbulk, non-containerised cargo. "Cellular or multipurpose" these vessels are largely replacing break bulk vessels
  • Most cellular vessels are able to accommodate break bulk/non containerised cargo on the upper most stack of the vessel
  • Ro-Ro - ships that are multipurpose, with the addition of a stern ramp, to the quayside, by which cargoes are received and dispatched
  • Reefer vessels" - these are vessel dedicated to carrying refrigerated cargoes
  • Lo-Lo - vessels have their own gantry or crane on board, these vessels can load and discharge their own cargoes

To find out more about the types of merchant ships, click here.

Follow these links to learn more about calculating sea freight charges, making sea freight payments and containerisation.

Shipping in South Africa 
Informative blog produced by Hariesh Manaadiar aimed at assisting newcomers to the shipping and freight industries.

World Port News 
Port information from around the world.

Top of page


Step 16: more information

Step 16: Handling the export logistics
             .Sea Freight calculations
             .Sea Freight payment terms
      Air Freight
      Rail Freight
      Road Freight
      River Freight

Click where you want to go

© Interactive Reality

More information on Step 16
Learning to export...
The export process in 21 easy steps
Step 1: Considering exporting
Step 2:Current business viability
Step 3:Export readiness
Step 4:Broad mission statement and initial budget
Step 5:Confirming management's commitment to exports
Step 6: Undertaking an initial SWOT analysis of the firm
Step 7:Selecting and researching potential countries abroad
Step 8: Preparing and implementing your export plan
Step 9: Obtaining financing for your exports
Step 10: Managing your export risk
Step 11: Promoting the firm and its products abroad
Step 12: Negotiating and quoting in exports
Step 13: Revising your export costings and price
Step 14: Obtaining the export order
Step 15: Producing the goods
Step 16: Handling the export logistics
Step 17: Export documentation
Step 18: Providing follow-up support
Step 19: Getting paid
Step 20: Reviewing and improving the export process
Step 21: Export Management
Export Reference
HS Codes
SIC Codes
Country Codes
Airline Codes
Airport Codes
Port Codes
Telephone Codes
Industry specific export control
Electricity Voltages
Transportation Types
Container Types
Hazardous Cargo Symbols
International Trade Agreements
Country Info
Export Documentation
Trading cycle
Export Articles
Export Glossary
Export Acronyms
Export Opportunities
Export portals
Export calendar
Inward Bound Missions
Outward Bound Missions
Trade Fairs SA
International Trade Fairs
Country Info
Country Help
SA Missions Abroad
Missions in SA
SA Representatives
Bilateral Chambers
Export Network
SA Economic Representatives
SA Missions Abroad
Missions in SA
Export Councils
Export Consultants
Export Trainers
Export Agents
Customs Clearing Agents
Trading Companies
Export Financiers
Bilateral Chambers
Government Departments
Trade Associations
Freight Forwarders
Airline Companies
Shipping Lines
Road Haulers
Courier companies
Trade/Maritime Lawyers
World Trade Point Federation
South African Translators
Universities with international Expertise
International Trade Statistics
Import and Export Statistics
Main Trading Partners
Main Export Products
Economic Statistics
SA Statistics
SA Reserve Bank
Data Mapper®
UNCTAD Statistics


     Our sister sites:

Indexing the World


Trade Training





     Other useful links:

Freight & Logistics Gateway

Freight quotes