Ocean carriers have become the standard for connecting trading partners from different geographies, especially when large volumes of freight must be sent over significant distances. Freight costs on carriers are among the lowest available, making these remarkable ocean liners the preferred choice for shipments that are not adversely impacted by a longer transportation time—anywhere from 10 to 30 days.
However, maintaining these lower costs has been a challenge in an asset-heavy, highly competitive industry that requires considerable financial investment—not just in the ships themselves, but in fuel and carriers as well. This may be one reason why many major carriers have expanded their services to also incorporate freight consolidation, warehousing, and truck and rail service, so shipments can now be made door-to-door rather than port-to-port.
The containerization of cargo was pioneered by ocean carriers in the last few decades. This phenomenon has revolutionized freight transportation and has made possible many of the efficiencies that shippers enjoy today.