Our ancestors have been using the ocean for centuries to ship goods from one place to another, and it is this stable distribution method that brings a huge chunk of revenue to our global economy. Ocean freight can be construed as a less-glamorous form of freight forwarding, and with the rise of automated consumer deliveries on everyone’s minds, here we point out exactly why ocean freight is still very much the backbone of the freight forwarding industry. Still widely used by companies which ship a large amount of goods at once, despite longer lead times, ocean freight is still sometimes the only option. We tend to focus on the technological advancements of air and road freight, but some of the tracking and identification radar technology passing through our shipping lanes is some of the most advanced tech you can find anywhere in the world. Whilst there are always going to be disadvantages to ocean freight, such as lead time, port duty, taxes or onward inland transportation, there are stil plenty of reasons to consider shipping some of your bigger items by sea. Economic advantages that lie with ocean shipping are of benefit to any freight forwarder and, in the bigger picture, our global financial markets. UK ports handled 120.5 million tonnes of freight in the second quarter of 2017, which last year added 7.7 billion to the UK GDP. This is a huge figure and one which we will all rely on. Even with this economic factor in place, ocean freight is still one of the cheapest modes of shipping for both consumers and freight forwarders. Another huge factor in why people should choose ocean freight over other forms of transport lies in the fact it can carry not only bulky, bigger cargo items but more freight in general. This is great for any business and means that you can bulk buy smaller items and create a platform for better business. Whilst some may say that long lead times on products is a negative, if you have the time and plan ahead for predictable or regular stock then the cost-effective nature of ocean freight is a no brainer. These longer lead times are made clear to anyone shipping this way, so once you have placed an order for any product, through updated tracking services, you will at least know how long the product will take to arrive. Overall, there are many great advantages to ocean freight. It is sometimes a forgotten form of freight forwarding and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Perhaps we should all learn to appreciate our ports more, and recognise the amazing work being done there. Top 5 shipping lines by revenue A.P. Moller – Maersk Group They have 324 offices in 115 countries worldwide and operate 590 container ships, with some of the largest and most advanced shipping software on the planet. Their base in Denmark allows them to easily trade throughout ports in Europe, and further afield. With revenue grossing $40.3 billion, and trading at sea for over 100 years, A.P. Moller is a great pick for any freight forwarder. Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) is the largest privately-owned shipping company in the world. Their 24,000 employees across the globe work tirelessly to make sure that you get a top-quality service. CMA CGM Group CMA CGM Group have a fleet of 471 vessels that call at 420 ports in 160 countries, and are what you can call a global company. In total, they have 765 offices and have and invaluable knowledge of the industry to pass on to you. China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) Following its takeover of China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL), COSCO is the largest shipping company outside of Europe. With over 130,000 employees based around the globe, this is one of the most exciting company’s due to its geographical position. Evergreen Marine Evergreen Marine currently operate over 190 ships, which call at 240 ports worldwide in 80 different countries. Much like any Malaysian company they offer an amazingly quick turnaround for your textile cargo and offer cost-effective rates for any consumer.