Before deciding the best shipping route for your cargo, there are several factors to consider. Most shippers cost (price) is the determining factor in their choice. However, that is not recommended because the price usually depends on the port location and whether it is close to the factory or warehouse.
The cheapest shipping route may not be the best route for your shipment. There are many other factors that can impact your supply chain. Below, you will find the most important factors that you should consider before choosing the shipping route.
Technologically developed ports are more reliable and efficient than other ports. They will give you more visibility about your shipment, allow you to track your shipment and make booking easier.
Well-developed ports can save you a lot of money. Technology reduces transportation cost and labor costs thus reducing the shipping cost. Furthermore, technology also helps improve port operations and minimize human errors.
Most shippers choose the closest port to ship their goods to as close ports are usually accessible and cheaper. However, sometimes, farther ports are a better choice as they may offer you direct services. This is extremely recommended if you are shipping urgent or valuable cargos.
You should also take into account the size of the ports you are exporting from and to. Larger ports offer direct services since there are more carriers and vessels available. Large ports also offer better prices and you can take advantage of equipment pools, more truckers, customs brokers, and other partners around the port that you may need their help to handle your cargo.
Infrastructure & equipment availability
This is another factor you should take into consideration. The infrastructure of the port impacts how reliably and quickly your cargo reaches its destination. Therefore, you should choose a port that has accessible waterways and more harbor depth to make sure that your cargo will pass through smoothly without any delays.
Customs regulations and procedures
Customs regulations and procedures differ from one country to another, thus they differ from one port to another. Some ports have specific customs regulations for certain goods, thus, depending on your commodity, it may be better for you to use certain ports over others. Certain ports have easier customer regulations for certain commodities, thus, importing through these ports is better for you.
I do not why many shippers do not take this factor into consideration although it is extremely important. Ports in areas prone to natural disasters usually offer cheaper prices but the risks are high. These ports are prone to closure and they also place your shipment at great risks of damage.
Many ports are facing trucking shortage (especially in the US), therefore keep in mind to check the trucker availability before you choose your port.
Although this is not a major factor like the listed above, yet it is a factor that you should consider. You do not want your cargo to get stuck at a certain port indeterminately because of a workers?strike.