There are usually several cost options to get your ocean containers to the required destination. All-in shipping costs are straightforward enough (first you’ll want to be sure they are, in fact, all-in!), but just because an ocean carrier departs first, does not mean that it’ll get delivered fastest. The transit times for different carriers can vary wildly, so any thoughts that the carrier who picks up first will be the quickest to deliver is a myth that needs busting.

If the goal is to get your container delivered ASAP, then the best choice isn’t always to get your container on the first ship out. Here are some reasons why.

First, ships don’t always travel from point a to point b. Your destination port may actually be point d or e for the vessel! If this is the case, your container may actually be traveling a lot of out-of-route miles with extra stops along the way—both of which slow down delivery time by days or weeks and add to your carbon footprint (something we’ll be talking about in an upcoming blog).

Port rotation can also impact transit time. This has to do with the way carriers choose to optimize capacity and efficiency within their own network. The potential for transhipment of your container will almost certainly add time as well.

Lastly, schedule reliability has huge importance. Knowing a carrier’s service performance on a given lane definitely needs to be part of your decision making when comparing carrier options. This means having confidence that a carrier will perform as expected, should also be considered.

Companies should not be quick to assume the next ship available is always the best routing option. Working with a forwarding partner who can offer a range of service (and cost) options, together with visibility tools to track that container, is the best way to get your goods delivered in the required time frame.