Sea freight

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Sea freight
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Sea freight is a form of water transport and involves the supply of goods through sea waters for commercial purposes. It is carried out by specialised vessels, e.g. general cargo vessels, bulk carriers or container ships (A. Caliskan, Y. Ozturkoglu, 2019, pp.360). In addition to shipping, we also distinguish between inland and coastal shipping. Sea freight is currently the most important in cargo transport. With the use of various vessels it enables, for example, the transport of lorries and rail wagons with cargo, containerised loads, gas in various forms, liquid goods (mainly oil products), goods counted in pieces and bulk materials (A. Caliskan, Y. Ozturkoglu, 2019, pp.360-364).

History of sea freight

Sea freight and passenger transport by sea played out an important role for a very long time. In ancient times, it allowed for the development of many countries, i.e. Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire or Byzantium and contributed to the great geographical discoveries made by European sailors at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, in particular, the sailing around the Cape of Good Hope by Diaz (1488), the discovery of America by Columbus (1492) and its conquest, the journey of Vasco da Gama to India (1498) and the first a journey around the world of Magellan (1519-1522) (J. Aggelakakis, et all, 2015, p.33-34). Till the era of the great discoveries made through access to maritime transport should also include the discovery of Australia, which is likely to have been made by the Portuguese as early as the 16th century (J. Aggelakakis, et all, 2015, p.33-34).

Types of sea freight

Depending on the swimming region, sea freight can be divided into national and international. Its classification is also based on differences in work organisation and destination. In this way, we divide sea freight into (D. Faturachman, S. Mustaf, 2013,pp.14-15):

  • Cabotage - between ports of the same country
  • Linear - on regular routes according to sailing schedule
  • Tramp - results from the market demand and is carried out without an agreed schedule
  • Shuttlecraft - between two specific ports.

Depending on the area of activity, sea freight can be subdivided into a number of areas (D. Faturachman, S. Mustaf, 2013,pp.14-15):

  • seaborne,
  • offshore
  • inland
  • Coastal shipping.

Coastal shipping

Coastal shipping is carried out by vessels with low seaworthiness due to their construction (e.g. small size, low draught) (P. Tae-Woo Lee,et all., 2019, p. 178 ) . The vessels in this fleet are called white fleets and include small passenger ships, both for transport and leisure (S. Esmer, 2018, pp. p.166). The low seaworthiness of these vessels is compensated by the diversity of the fleet: it includes water trams, hydrofoils, small cruise ships (including side-wheelers), replicas of old ships or vessels stylized as famous vessels for processing fishing boats. This type of sailing is often practiced by sea tugboats (P. Tae-Woo Lee,et all., 2019, p. 178 ). This is not due to their low seaworthiness, but rather to the policy of shipowners and their region of operation. A coastal vessel has lower equipment and minimum safe manning requirements to meet than an international vessel (S. Esmer, 2018, pp. p.167).

Types of vessels

Sea freight is also distinguished according to the type of vessel used for freight transport. These include ships (D. Faturachman, S. Mustaf, 2013,pp.14-15):

  • ro-ro, rolling stock and vehicles
  • container ships, for the transport of containers
  • gas carriers, for the transport of liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas
  • tankers, for the carriage of liquid cargoes
  • general cargo vessels, for the transport of goods counted in pieces
  • bulk carriers, for the transport of dry (loose) cargo without packaging.

Advantages of sea freight

The main advantage of sea freight is its cost-effectiveness. It is one of the most economical means of transport. It should be decided by people who are primarily interested in financial benefits. Another advantage is the possibility of transporting any type of goods - there are no restrictions in this respect (P. Tae-Woo Lee,et all., 2019, p. 178-179 ). A large number of specialised vessels creates almost unlimited possibilities for the diversification of the range of products. Nevertheless, the main advantage of sea freight transport is its capacity. It is the only means of transport that offers such a large capacity. This mode of transport is also distinguished by its long range and low accident rate. It is one of the safest forms of transport (P. Tae-Woo Lee,et all., 2019, p. 178-179 ).

Disadvantages of sea freight

In sea freight it is not possible to transport loads that are not resistant to moisture, requiring fast delivery and small, high-value consignments where time is of the essence. It is also not possible to freeze rotating assets (J. Aggelakakis, et all, 2015, p.33-34). Sea freight is a cheap and safe form of cargo transport, its means of transport are characterized by high cargo capacity, but unfortunately also by low operational speed of ships, low frequency of their movement. and time-consuming port operations (, S. Saxon, S. Stone, 2017,pp.2-5)..


Author: Bartosz Wojak