Published on April 16, 2023 The Benefits and Challenges of Using Shipping Containers in Dropshipping Operations
Last updated on May 10, 2023
If you are in the dropshipping business, you know how crucial shipping is. You have to ensure that the products reach your clients in perfect condition. That means weighing the pros and cons of each option. One of the options you can explore is shipping containers. Keep reading to learn the advantages of using shipping containers in your operations and why that might not be the best option.
Advantages of Using Shipping Containers
Shipping containers have numerous benefits spanning logistics, handling, and warehousing. Here are some of them:
Shipping Containers are Versatile
A shipping container can carry a wide variety of goods. Whatever your dropshipping business deals with, a shipping container can take it. The containers are usually adapted for different uses. For instance, if you sell perishable goods, they can be preserved in a container.
Besides, if you sell different types of goods, you don’t have to worry about getting a separate container for each type. They can all be accommodated in one container.
As a business person, you try to increase your profit margin as much as possible. You do that by driving expenses down. Due to economies of scale, shipping containers can help you keep the cost of doing business down. You might find that the shipping cost is over ten times less expensive than conventional means due to lower intermodal transport costs.
Guaranteed Security and Safety
When shipping using containers, you can be sure that the contents are safe. They are not even known to carriers since they can only be opened by you (the seller), at customs, and by the buyer. That reduces the chances of the goods getting spoiled or stolen along the way. The container also protects the goods against harsh climatic conditions.
Faster Than Cargo Ships
Container ships are usually faster compared to regular cargo ships. They have turnaround times of less than three weeks. Therefore, your buyers don’t have to wait forever to receive their items, increasing your credibility.
The Downside of Using Shipping Containers
Although shipping containers have numerous benefits, they have a fair share of disadvantages. Take a look at some of them below:
Containers Consume a Lot of Space
The containers are enormous. That means terminals are usually far from urban places, where most of your clients might be. Therefore, you must still figure out the transportation from the terminal to the final destination.
Shipping containers can be expensive. Besides, you need other handling infrastructure and equipment, like giant cranes. If you want to own a container for your dropshipping operations, you will need a large pool of capital.
Risk of Theft and Losses
Although shipping containers are pretty safe, there is still the risk of loss, especially for high-value goods. Several containers are reported missing at sea every year, mainly due to bad weather. Therefore, there is some level of vulnerability beyond your control.
Limitations on What to Ship
A shipping container is ideal for a lot of things–but not everything. A common limitation is a food and other perishable goods. Although there are special shipping containers with refrigeration, some do not. In that case, your items might go bad before reaching the destination.
When shipping internationally, you need much documentation for the seamless transit of your goods. Otherwise, the goods might get delayed, or you might incur extra charges. The entire process of coordinating the transportation and delivery is rather complex.
Different Types of Shipping Containers
It is worth noting that there are different types of shipping containers. You can choose one depending on the nature of your dropshipping business. Here is a list of common types of shipping containers.
Standard Dry Shipping Containers
Standard dry shipping containers are the most frequently used. They are used on rail, sea, and road. A standard dry container can be 20ft, 40ft, or 45ft. Typically, they are 8ft wide and 8.5ft high.
High Cube Containers
These containers are usually a foot taller than standard dry containers. They come in handy for goods that need extra height. They typically have the same loading capacity as trailers, making them suitable for short-sea shipping.
These containers are made explicitly for shipping non-hazardous liquids like cooking oil. They are usually airtight sealed and can hold up to 24,000 liquid cargo.
Reefer containers are refrigerated. They are used for goods that need humidity, temperature, and airflow control. They are usually connected to the power supply on a truck or vessel. They can be used to ship chilled and frozen goods like ice cream and meat products.
An insulated container is the middle ground between a standard dry shipping container and a reefer container. Although the temperature is regulated, there is no refrigeration. They are ideal for long-distance transportation of items like fresh produce and pharmaceutical products.
Several Logistics Companies to Work With
If you choose to use shipping containers for your dropshipping business, there are several logistics and shipping companies to work with worldwide. All you have to do is look into them to establish their credibility and professionalism. Remember to compare prices and read their reviews before you commit.