The Best Ways to Ship Goods in and out of Ports

How to Ship Goods Through Ports

From small-town shops to luxury brand manufacturers – we all rely on transportation for mobility. Transportation is the backbone of logistics, but choosing the best way to ship goods through ports is not a walk in the park. An effective transport system handles and transport goods to consumers at the right place and at the right time. It influences production, sales and the satisfaction of your customers. It can be daunting to understand the many aspects of import and export planning, but it can sure help decrease shipping and logistics cost.

There are four ways by which you can transport goods: road, rail, air and sea; you may need to use a combination of one or more types. Before you decide on the best mode of transport for your goods, take the following factors into consideration:

1) Cost of Transport

Budget for transport is important because it dictates the price of goods. Every business wants to keep transportation costs at a minimum, but cutting costs has its own drawbacks. There has to be a balance between time constraints and the cost of transport.

2) Speed of Transport

Speed can affect the cost of transport. Certain products need to be transported quickly, such as vaccines, market produce and cooked food items. Handling time is of the essence to minimize spoilage. Quickest mode of transport is by air, but it is also the most expensive.

3) Product Characteristics

The actual physical forms of your goods are important. The type of transport you need mostly rely on the products you are shipping. Are they breakable? Do they need to be refrigerated? You can refuse paying extra for services that your products don’t need. In the same way, waste and hazardous materials require different types of equipment and handling. Size, volume and the value of your products also play a role in deciding which carrier and mode of transport to use, as well as the type of packaging you need.

4) Security and Safety

Moving your products internationally has its risks; it’s up to you to choose a type of transport that minimizes these risks. Sea transport exposes your goods to the threats of water. Dangers in transportation results into losses.

5) Transport Arrangements

There are products that may require certain arrangements, depending on location and time constraints. Intermodal services provide solution to your products’ special needs by using different types of transport (truck fleet, rail, and ship). Choose companies that use proper handling equipment and port-compliant vehicles. Multimodal and intermodal transport cater to all types of goods.

6) Additional Services

Complementary services also influence the decision-making process of moving goods. There are freight forwarders that can handle different types of packaging for your products. They may also handle customs clearance documentation, warehousing, filing of insurance claims and other ancillary services.

Modes of Transport

1) Road Transport

It is the most common, and highly flexible, way of moving commodities. Almost all suppliers and businesses use this type of transport. You can choose door to door delivery without transshipment or move your goods from one mode of transfer to another.


  • Limited capital expenditure
  • Cost effective over short distances
  • Fast delivery
  • Ideal for transporting perishable items
  • You can easily communicate with the driver and track the location of your goods


  • Expensive for long distances
  • Prone to delays
  • Affected by weather
  • High toll charges in some countries

2) Rail Transport

Moving your products through this mode is relatively cheap. Look for companies that offer rail trans loading and haulage services. Ideal for transporting heavy goods, including coal, steel and other bulky items.


  • Safest way of transport
  • Low cost
  • Ideal for bulky goods and long distance transport
  • Large carrying capacity


  • Huge capital expenditure
  • Prone to mechanical failure
  • Additional costs for transfer from rail depot

3) Air Transport

The fastest way of transport to ship your products internationally. The determining factor in choosing this mode is the bulk and cost ratio. Ideal for valuable products in short supply.


  • Flexible
  • Fast delivery (between 24-48 hr)
  • Reduced lead time
  • High level of security for valuable items


  • Weight limits
  • Costly
  • Subject to flight delays and cancellations
  • Airport taxes

4) Sea Transport

For high volume product, without the need for quick delivery, sea freight is the method of choice. Arrangements are needed to move your goods inland. Using heavy haul services will help you in transporting between ports. Choose companies that can obtain permissions, especially those that require multiple permits.


  • High volume capacity
  • Ideal for many types of cargo
  • Cheapest mode of transport


  • Huge capital expenditure
  • No option for door to door service
  • Slow
  • Bad weather delays

For further information on port logistics, contact us at Ecology. We have plenty of experience as the shipping service of choice for countless companies that move through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Give us a call, and we can help you come up with the most cost-effective shipping plan for your business model.