Best Ocean Freight Shipping Companies

Ocean freight shipping is defined as the transportation of goods using the shipping containers of a maritime boat or vessel.  

Ocean freight requires the use of a freight forwarder to find and organize space within a ship in coordination with a ship agent.  The goods are generally transported to the port of origin using a truck and then shipped to the port of the destination where the goods are transferred to the  local importer.  

Sea freight has several advantages over other transportation means:

  • More attractive pricing: shipping by sea is significantly cheaper than shipping by air 
  • More environmentally friendly: Transporting by sea emits significantly less CO2 than transporting by planes 
  • Less regulation: Air transportation has many more restrictions around the goods that can be transported compared to sea travel

DHL Ocean Freight

DHL Ocean Freight specializes in providing services for full Container Load (FCL) and Less-than-Container Load (LCL) shipments.

The company currently ​processes more than 2 million cubic meters of LCL each year across the globe.  

dhl ocean freight

The Good Stuff:

  • ​Strong global brand that with resources across all continents.  
  • Multiple options across products such as flexitanks for the transportation of bulk-liquids and Ocean Thermonet for temperature controlled ocean freight. 
  • Vetted quality control across the organization.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Less personalized service given the large nature of the organization.  

4.5/5 Stars

Geodis Logistics

Geodis offers solutions across FCL, LCL, or a combination of Sea-Air.  The company also also has special programs if you require transport insurance or need to move oversized cargo.   

Geodis Logistics

The Good Stuff:

  • Excellent balance between cost efficient transportation and timely arrival.   

  • The company is committed to social responsibility.  

The Bad Stuff:

  • Recent entry into the US freight forwarding market. 

4/5 Stars

C. H. Robinson

C.H. Robinson is a Fortune 500 company focused broadly on the logistics and transportation industry.  The company has a strong focus on ocean freight.    

ch robinson trucking

The Good Stuff:

  • The company is the largest non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) from China to the ​US.

  • Has services for full container load (FCL) or less than container load (LCL) cargo across all major shipping routes

The Bad Stuff:

  • Extremely large organization with potentially a less personalized service.   

4.5/5 Stars

How to decide...

Make sure that your ocean freight forwarder has a strong grasp of the customs clearance process. 

Understanding which commodities are being transported as well the nuances of tariffs, import/export duties, and declared value will have major implications to your business.