The 7 Phases Of Ocean Freight

At this point, you most likely have a rudimentary idea about ocean freight and transport by sea in general. The basics of ocean freight, its various forms and the potentials it holds for your business have been detailed here.

Ocean freight operations are made possible by several components, including supply chain management. A supply chain is an ecosystem of individuals, organizations, and pursuits that collaborate to transport a good or service.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the intricacies of ocean freight, and factors you need to consider before settling for this means of international transport for your business.

Table of Content

The main players in the industry

There are four critical players in the ocean freight value chain. Throughout the ocean freight process, these entities perform interconnected functions. These entities are explained below:

  • Shipper: a person or business responsible for shipping on the supplier’s end.
  • Consignee: a person or business responsible for receiving shipments.
  • Freight Forwarder: the provider of logistics (for road, ship or air transportation).
  • Shipping Line: company transporting product-related freight.

Phases of the ocean freight cycle

The process of ocean freight begins with you. Your business needs kick starts the entire process. Once your goods are packed and ready for transport, they must go through a series of phases explained below before they get to their appointed destination. Also, every phase of the process may be assigned to a freight forwarder. However, to cut costs, you can opt to make different arrangements for some phases.

  • Phase 1: Export haulage

The first phase is moving your goods or cargo to the forwarder’s warehouse or location. Typically, goods are delivered by road, rail, or a combination of the two. This portion of the shipment would normally be planned through a nearby transportation agency if it were agreed that the shipper was in charge of it.

As part of global transportation, it is frequently wise to engage a freight forwarder who can provide export haulage if the consignee is in charge. In the same way that unloading the vehicle at the forwarder’s location is typically not included in export haulage, handling the cargo (loading it onto a truck) at the shipper’s location is not regarded as part of export haulage.

  • Phase 2: Export customs clearance

This phase involves official regulatory formality that entails providing the necessary and legitimate documentation to the relevant authorities.

Customs formalities must be completed for each shipment departing a country in order to satisfy legal obligations. Customs clearance is a process in which a declaration is created and the necessary paperwork is submitted to the authorities. These services can only be provided by businesses with active customs licenses, otherwise known as “customs house brokers.”

A freight forwarder with a current license or an agent chosen by the freight forwarder may handle export customs clearance. Alternatively, it could be done by a customs house broker that the shipper directly appoints and who doesn’t necessarily participate in the shipping process in any other way. Before the goods can depart the nation of origin, the export customs clearance step must be finished. If this task is not handled by the freight forwarder, it is frequently necessary to finish it before the shipment enters the warehouse where the forwarder is based.

  • Phase 3: Origin handling

This phase includes all of the tasks required to get your products ready for shipping. A staging area will be used to place the cargo for examination and verification. Once the shipment has been verified, the freight forwarder will issue a cargo receipt attesting to their receipt of the items in accordance with the description.

The items will be stacked in their container if the cargo is an FCL. If LCL, they will be put in the warehouse while waiting to be combined with other items in a container going to the same port of destination. The container will then be transported by truck to the ship’s departure port for loading.

From the time the cargo is received at the origin warehouse until it is loaded in a container on a ship, origin handling includes all physical handling and inspection of the goods. Numerous actions are taken as part of origin handling by numerous parties, but the freight forwarder—or an agent they appoint—is in charge of coordination and is ultimately responsible for everything. To put it simply, after receiving the cargo, it is checked (counted), planned for loading, combined with other cargo, crammed into a container, and transported to the port where it is loaded onto a ship.

  • Phase 4: Ocean freight

This is how the items are actually moved across the oceans. Depending on a number of variables, the phases up to this point could take days or even weeks. Depending on where the items are going, ocean freight alone could take anywhere from 20 to 60 days.

In order to meet the needed deadline for the shipments, the freight forwarder selects a shipping line to handle the ocean freight from origin to destination. The contract of carriage for the container is between the freight forwarder and the shipping line; in this instance, the shipper or consignee has no direct dealings with the shipping company.

The shipper or the consignee will ultimately be responsible for paying the cost of the maritime freight. However, the total cost of shipping from port to port is never covered by ocean freight. Currency adjustment factors and bunker adjustment factors are two of the surcharges that shippers and consignees will encounter in the industry.

  • Phase 5: Import customs clearance

The products will wait for import approval once they get to their port of destination. This phase also entails filling out the required paperwork, declaring the cargo, and making the required payments.

Normally, import customs clearance might start even before the shipment reaches its final destination. When it comes to export customs clearance, a declaration is prepared and filed along with relevant paperwork, enabling authorities to register the shipment and assess any applicable customs duties. The freight forwarder, or a representative of the freight forwarder, or a customs house broker chosen by the consignee handles import customs clearance.

  • Phase 6: Destination handling

This phase includes all the tasks required to verify the products, examine the documentation, including the bill of lading, and move the container to the warehouse of the freight forwarder. The items will be verified, opened, and sorted here for import transportation.

Prior to being released to a consignee, cargo handling is necessary both at the origin and the destination. In a nutshell, destination handling entails moving the container from the ship to land and from the port to the forwarder’s warehouse at the destination. Additionally, it entails emptying the container of its contents and arranging the cargo for pickup by the consignee.

  • Phase 7: Import haulage

This is the last step in the procedure. At this point, the merchandise will be delivered by truck or train inland to the chosen location.

The actual delivery of the cargo to the consignee constitutes the final stage of the transportation process. It may be carried out by a local transportation business chosen by the consignee or by the freight forwarder. It usually makes sense to utilize a freight forwarder who can also arrange for import haulage if the shipper is handling this portion of the transit. Transport to a certain address is often included in the import haulage, but unloading from the truck is the consignee’s obligation.

Practical Recap

In practical terms, the process of ocean freight from start to finish basically goes through following steps

  • Get your goods ready for shipment
  • Notify the freight forwarder about the shipment.
  • Container pickup by a freight forwarder
  • Filling of documents for export country customs clearance
  • Arrival of container at port
  • Ship is loaded with container
  • Containers depart for the final port of call
  • Shipper gives consignee the necessary papers.
  • Consignee examines the paperwork and offers information to import country Customs
  • Documents and shipments are examined by import country Customs
  • Containers enter the port
  • Containers may be subject to various customs inspections.
  • The container is mounted to the truck after customs clearance.
  • Trucks transport containers to the distribution center
  • Containers are accepted by the consignee at the distribution center.

Why you need quality Ocean Freight Cargo Services

Ocean Freight Cargo Services are designed to help shippers by arranging for the safe international delivery of their cargo. They also take care of every step involved in ocean freight and streamline the entire process.

For cargo going abroad, international ocean freight companies can provide dependable and economical ocean freight services. They specialize in handling enormous and special equipment goods, including transporting vehicles, as well as shipments of any size, from partial to full container loads.

Customers can get assistance from reliable freight forwarders with any international ocean freight process. Additionally, these businesses expedite shipment and enable you to convey the items at a discount. They provide dependable door-to-door or port-to-port shipping services between two countries.

Regardless of the carrier and destination, they also offer freight forwarding services to book the cargo, arrange for collection and delivery, manage shipment papers, and handle other processes. Additionally, make the entire forwarding procedure easier to fulfill the needs of the exporting and importing nations.

A Quality Ocean freight service you can trust

Allwin Freight will help you handle all of our shipping and freight forwarding needs. Allwin Freight has been in this freight forwarding industry for years and has industry experience in providing ocean cargo and warehousing services for small and medium companies as well as individuals, both in the United States and China.

Our unique hallmarks include lower freight costs, end-to-End tracking, comprehensive management, cargo security, hassle-free services, and 24/7 hours of support.

Allwin freight ocean freight services communicates directly with your factory, takes care of all the freight forwarding, from pick-up at your factory or supplier to drop-off at your delivery address, and can also consolidate goods. We also handle both your exporting and importing customs clearance, including checking and preparing customs clearance documentation and advising on suitable HS codes for your shipment. We do all these while ensuring the right mechanisms are put in place for the timely delivery of your goods.

Frequently Asked questions

  • How extensive and reliable is your network as a freight forwarder?

We have an established and reliable international network to meet the requirements of clients. These networks have the advantage of assisting usin streamlining ourfreight forwarding processes.

  • Is it possible for me to track my freight on regular basis?

Yes, we offer round-the-clock tracking service so that the location of the shipment can be easily tracked. The advantage of a tracking facility with automatic notifications is that it aids in better planning of logistical requirements and also helps in developing a backup plan of action in case something goes wrong. You may rest easy knowing that everything is going according to plan by tracking the freight.

  • Do you provide a custom clearance facility?

We provide customs clearance services, which is an integral and important part of the freight forwarding procedure. As a plus, we offer customs clearance, both in the country of origin and the destination country.

  • Do I have to pack my products as well as prepare freight on my own?

At Allwin freight, we provide packaging and FBA prep services for your products. We handle this process for you, with full assurance that the freight will be properly packed as per requirements and statutory guidelines.

  • How fast do you deliver?

We prioritize timely delivery of our clients’ cargo. Our procedures are organized and streamlined to always beat your delivery deadline.


AllWin Freight was founded in Yiwu, China in 2004 with a mission to offer efficient transport solutions for SME customers. We want to establish lasting personal relationships with our customers. With this in mind, we search for the best solutions to master specific logistics challenges.

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