Transit Time Sea Freight

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Transit Time Sea Freight


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Sea Freight Transit Time: Ultimate Guide

Want to transport large quantities of cargo? 

Sea freight is the best solution for long-distance shipping. It is also the best option for heavy goods that need special handling. But when it comes to time, sea freight transit time is long. 

Leeline Freight Expert Developed this guidance to help you with your freight time calculation. You know about factors that affect transit time and shorten them. 

Read carefully…

Sea Freight Transit Time

What is shipping transit time?

What is shipping transit time

Transit time is the planned traveling time from one port to another port. It covers packing, processing, transport, delivery, and additional time

The shipment transit time of sea freight may vary depending on various factors. It varies greatly depending on the

  • Mode of transportation used, 
  • The distance traveled, 
  • And other factors such as weather and traffic. 

Different shipping types offer different transit times to cover the same distance. Air freight has a shorter transit time than ocean freight due to the aircraft’s speed. 

In sea freight, the condition of the sea and weather also play a vital role in transit time. Sea freight transit time may also rise if it travels a longer route and stops at many hubs. The shipping companies usually provide an estimated delivery time on their website. You compare the transit time before committing to one company. 

How long does sea freight shipping take?

How long does sea freight shipping take

The transit time for sea freight is undoubtedly different from other transportation systems. Sea freight involves many steps to dispatch and receive the goods. It takes time for

  • Customs clearance, 
  • Preparing shipping documents, 
  • And loading and unloading the products. 

Besides, the documentation and customs clearance process varies depending on the geographical location. You must have all documentation to unload your goods at the final destination. 

Usually, it takes around 20 to 45 days to transfer goods via sea freight. Sometimes the transit time takes even longer than 45 days. 

Look at ocean freight’s transit time by the shipping cargo type. The estimated shipping time-

  • Less than container load or LCL: 

[Average transit times] 20-45 days + loading time (3 to 5 days) + Port processing time (4-8 days) 

  • Rough estimate for Full container load: 

25- 35 days + loading time (7-10 days) + Port processing (7-12 days)

Sea freight shipment transit time is very uncertain. During busier seasons, loading and unloading take longer than usual. Full container load Larger ships take longer to deliver goods than smaller ships.

How to calculate ocean freight transit times?

1. Determine by Shipping zone

You must know about the shipping zones to calculate ocean freight transit time. The shipping zone is vital in reaching your products’ destination faster. 

So, what is the shipping zone? 

It is the geographical location where the carrier delivers the goods. The shipping zone is the distance between the starting point and the destination. 

In different countries, the measuring of shipping zone is different. For example, the USA has eight shipping zones. Let’s have a look at them. 

Shipping zoneDistance
Zone 1 0-50 miles
Zone 251-150 miles
Zone 3151-300 miles
Zone 4301-600 miles
Zone 5601-1000 miles
Zone 6 1001-1400 miles
Zone 71401-1800 miles
Zone 81801+ miles

Most companies determine the shipping zone by the traditional definition. The shipping zone is different if you ship from two warehouses. For example, UPS measures the shipping zone by two systems. 

  • Number one: measure the traveling distance. 
  • Number two: initial location of the shipment. 

2. Determine by Lead Time

Lead time is another factor in determining your port shipping transit time. It is the amount of time that passes between the initiation of a process and its completion. This term refers to the time between placing an order and receiving it.

In manufacturing, lead time includes-

  • The time to prepare materials, 
  • Create the product, 
  • And ship it to the customer.

Lead time = Shipment processing days + Transit days + Clearance days + Delivery days

3. Transit time calculator

Some shipping time calculator websites help to calculate ocean freight transit time. You go to their website and request a quote for this service. Here are some websites you use to calculate the transit time. The websites can auto-calculate the estimated delivery time for you.

How to reduce sea freight transit times?

How to reduce sea freight transit times

You reduce sea freight transit times by following some essential steps. Let’s have a look at them. 

#Tip1: Use direct routes

Use direct routes to help speed up transit times. It helps you avoid potential delays by stopping at multiple ports.  

#Tip2: Choose the suitable vessel: 

Choosing the correct ship will help reduce port shipping transit time. Consider the-

  • Size and type of container,
  • The speed and fuel efficiency of the vessel,
  • And the loading and unloading time it takes for cargo. 

Also, Ensure that cargo is loading and unloading efficiently and with minimal delays. 

#Tip3: Monitor the progress:

Monitor the shipment throughout the journey to ensure it is not delayed and is on track to arrive on time. 

#Tip4: Leverage technology: 

It helps streamline processes and reduce paperwork, which helps reduce delays. 

#Tip5: Provide accurate and timely information:

Accurate and timely information may decrease delivery delays. Also, Optimize loading and unloading times to reduce delays by congested ports.

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FAQs about Transit Time Sea Freight

Why does sea freight take so long?

Sea freight takes longer than other shipment systems for several reasons:

• Firstly, loading and unloading from the seaport take a lot of time. That increases average transit times

• The ocean’s weather and vessel conditions are also responsible for the additional delays. Extreme weather and road closures might disrupt the most efficient route for carriers. Thus it increases the transit times to reach the final destinations.

• And most importantly, the past three years have been the most challenging for sea freight. Because of the pandemic and the lockdowns. 
Besides, international shipping restrictions are stringent nowadays. 

Is transit time the same as shipping time?

No, these two are entirely different things. Transit time is the time it takes for the shipment to reach its destination. 

Shipping time is the time it takes for the 
• Shipment processing, 
• Pick up, 
• And sent out from the shipping company or warehouse.

What increases transit time?

Various factors affect transit time, including-
• Distance,
• Weather conditions, traffic,
• Mode of transport,
• Holidays,
• Customs regulations,
• Mechanical issues.

What’s Next

Correct calculation of Transit time sea freight is CRUCIAL. You compare several freight companies’ times and prices to get the best one.

Cost-benefit analysis is crucial. Make sure the supply chain functions well to optimize investment value. You may consider several shipping carriers, which affect your final decision. This article helps you make the right choice.

Need help with your transportation? Call Leeline. We’ve been in logistics for decades and know what is best for you.

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Sharline leeline founder

Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing and shipping in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing and shipping , pls feel free to contact us.

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