Canadian Ports Make Ocean Freight a Convenient Choice for Import-Export Businesses

Canada boasts some of the busiest container ports in the world. Known collectively as the “Big 4,” the ports of Port Metro Vancouver, Montreal, Prince Rupert and Halifax routinely handle 5 million (or more) container units in a single year.

Ocean freight is a popular option for import-export businesses for a number of reasons, including convenience, cost, and capability. Each of these aspects will be explored in more detail, below. while others specialize in hazardous materials, or oversized freight.


Ocean freight uses existing shipping lines to import and export goods. Large container ships are constantly circling the globe, transporting goods from continent to continent across vast oceans. While ocean freight may not be the fastest method to get your goods from point A to point B, the convenience of ocean freight can be found in the services offered by Canada’s many shipping companies.

Many shipping companies in Canada offer a full range of full container load (FCL) services, including:

  • Picking up and delivering empty containers to the seller
  • Pickup up and delivering full containers to the shipping line
  • Completing import and export and customs documents
  • Loading and unloading containers on container ships
  • Delivering full containers to the buyer

With so many accessible ports in Canada, ocean freight is a convenience and affordable option for many.


To ship products by ocean freight, goods are first packed into large shipping containers. This makes ocean freight one of the most cost-efficient ways to move goods around the world. A container is a large 20- or 40-foot rectangular metal box designed to be filled at the port of origin, then loaded onto a container ship and sent across the ocean. At the destination port, the container is offloaded and then either claimed by the buyer or loaded onto a truck for delivery.

Importers and exporters may choose to use ocean freight because although it is not the fastest mode of delivery, it can be one of the least expensive ways to get goods across vast oceans.


Ocean freight offers a range of options that are not available using other freight methods. For example, there are no restrictions on the size or type of products shipped by ocean freight, which is not true of other methods. If this is a concern for you, it may be worth it to protect your freight with shipping insurance. Be sure to check with your freight or shipping company to find out what kind of insurance policies they may offer.

Another unique capability of ocean freight is the option to ship goods port-to-port, in which the seller puts the product on the ship at the port of origin and the buyer retrieves it at the destination port, or to incorporate truck pick up and/or delivery, either door-to-port, port-to-door, or door-to-door. These options will help Canada’s import-export business get the goods they need in the most efficient way possible.

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