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In the world of shipping, there is a distinct difference between ‘direct shipping’ and ‘transhipment’. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and there are many factors to take into account before deciding which method is best for your business.

Below, we’ll explain the nature and the benefits of the two different types of shipping, and give some guidance as to what method you should choose when importing your goods from overseas.

What is a direct shipment?

A direct shipment refers to shipping from the beginning destination to an end destination via a direct route.

There is no need for a vessel to stop at an intermediate port to offload. The goods travel directly from Port of Origin to Port of Destination.

There are numerous advantages of selecting direct shipping over transhipments, including:

Saving time

Just like flying as a passenger on a commercial aeroplane, direct shipping means reduced transit time, as there is no requirement to offload at an intermediate location.

By way of example, if cargo is transported from India to the East Coast of the United States via a direct route, the transit time could be around 24 days. But if the goods are carried as a transhipment and transported between two cities in India (such as from Chennai to New Delhi), and then required to wait for another vessel prior to being taken to the United States, transit time could take up to 30 days.

Avoiding delays

When shipping cargo using the transhipment method, you will find you are more exposed to risks of delay. This is typical because it takes additional time to offload a container and then place it onto another vessel. If a port is congested during a given period (such as during shipping peak season), there could be delays in receiving and unloading vessels at the port.

There is also a risk that a vessel will miss a cut-off time at a transhipment port. If the first vessel arrives too late to meet its offload schedule, further delays will occur.