As the world of eCommerce continues to expand, international shipping remains crucial in transporting goods across different regions and continents.
If yours is among the few businesses that have built a worldwide market for themselves, the need for efficient, timely, and reliable delivery services cannot be overstated.
However, delays, lost shipments, and disruptions, among other issues, still hinder operations, making it imperative to choose the right international shipping company.
In addition to having the widest coverage, the best shipping companies offer smooth services and incorporate technology to make the process enjoyable for you and your customers.
Following are the top 7 international shipping companies your business can use:
- Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC),
- CMA CGM Group,
In this article, we will discuss what makes them stand out among the ocean of options. We have also highlighted some software solutions that will help you compare their rates, amongst other services they offer.
7 Best International Shipping Companies
1. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
Year Founded: 1970
Founder(s): Gianluigi Aponte
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Key Services: Container shipping, logistics, intermodal transportation
Notable Features/Strengths: Reliable service, frequent sailings, commitment to sustainability, investment in advanced technologies
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is a globally recognized shipping company that operates a vast fleet of over 760 container vessels with an intake capacity of 4,631,403 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).
With over 675 offices in more than 155 countries, MSC provides a wide range of services, including container shipping, logistics, and supply chain management. The company offers a variety of container types and sizes to meet the needs of its customers.
They have recently increased the size of their maritime fleet and remain committed to sustainability and carbon footprint reduction.
Year Founded: 1907
Founder(s): James E. Casey, Claude Ryan
Headquarters: Georgia, United States
Key Services: Express delivery, freight forwarding, supply chain
Notable Features/Strengths: Comprehensive international shipping services, extensive global network, advanced tracking capabilities
UPS (United Parcel Service) is a well-established global logistics and transportation company with a long history, dating back to its establishment in 1907 as the American Messenger Company.
They operate in over 220 countries, thanks to a fleet of over 500 aircraft and thousands of vehicles. Like others on the list, they also offer a comprehensive range of international shipping services like package delivery, freight transportation, logistics, and printing services.
The name, UPS, is synonymous with reliability, timely deliveries, advanced tracking capabilities, and commitment to customer service.
Year Founded: 1970
Founder(s): Hapag-Lloyd AG
Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany
Key Services: Container shipping, logistics, digital solutions
Notable Features/Strengths: Established reputation, advanced digital solutions, commitment to sustainability, global network
Hapag-Lloyd is a prominent container shipping company with a rich history, having been established through a merger of Hamburg-American Line (HAPAG) and Norddeutscher Lloyd.
Thanks to a fleet of about 250 container ships with a total capacity of 1.8 million TEUs, Hapag-Lloyd has a presence in over 130 countries, making them a leading global shipping company.
Their services include container shipping, door-to-door transportation, and logistics solutions with a variety of container types and sizes. Hapag-Lloyd also focuses on sustainability, investing in eco-friendly technologies that reduce their environmental impact.
Year Founded: 1969
Founder(s): Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn
Headquarters: Bonn, Germany
Key Services: Express delivery, freight forwarding, logistics
Notable Features/Strengths: Extensive global network, efficient and reliable shipping options, customer-centric approach
DHL is a leading international logistics company that offers a wide range of shipping and transportation services such as courier, package delivery, express mail, freight transport, supply chain management, and eCommerce logistics solutions.
They are present in 220 countries with more than half a million employees, signifying a vast global network that provides efficient and reliable shipping options worldwide.
DHL has an advanced tracking system and is always committed to serving customers and the environment through sustainable practices and technologies.
Year Founded: 1971
Founder(s): Frederick W. Smith
Headquarters: Tennessee, United States
Key Services: Express delivery, air freight, ocean freight
Notable Features/Strengths: Reliable global delivery network, advanced tracking capabilities, tailored shipping solutions
FedEx is one of the best international shipping companies in the USA and a renowned global logistics company specializing in express transportation and shipping services. They offer various shipping options, including express, ground, freight, and international shipping.
The company is reliable, fast, and innovative, with a focus on developing new tools and services to improve the customer experience.
FedEx operates in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, with a fleet of over 670 aircraft and more than 180,000 vehicles. They also have about 5,000 facilities.
6. CMA CGM Group
Year Founded: 1978
Founder(s): Jacques R. Saadé
Headquarters: Marseille, France
Key Services: Container shipping, logistics, digital solutions
Notable Features/Strengths: Extensive network, innovation, commitment to sustainability, investment in digitalization
CMA CGM is a leading French shipping company with a global presence. They offer a wide range of container shipping services and logistics solutions.
Known for their innovative approach and commitment to sustainable practices, they have significantly invested in digitalization and offer advanced online platforms to streamline shipping processes.
CMA CGM has an extensive network of close to 600 vessels that serve 420 commercial ports and 257 shipping lines in 160 countries with 400 offices and 750 warehouses. The group provides services like container shipping, logistics solutions, and door-to-door transportation.
Year Founded: 1961
Founder(s): Chinese government
Headquarters: Beijing, China
Key Services: Container shipping, terminal operations, logistics
Notable Features/Strengths: One of the largest container carriers, extensive network, strong presence in Asia, strategic alliances
COSCO is short for China Ocean Shipping Company, Limited. It is a leading Chinese shipping company and one of the largest container carriers globally.
They provide a wide range of shipping services, including container transportation, terminal operations, logistics solutions, freight forwarding, ship building and repair, container manufacturing, etc.
COSCO owns 1114 ships that call at over a thousand ports worldwide. As of May 2023, COSCO Shipping Lines operates over 360 container vessels with a total capacity of approximately 2.1 million TEUs.
How to Select the Best International Shipping Company
Your shipping partner’s efficiency is one of the factors that affect your business. Therefore, selecting one cannot be left to chance. Here’s a list of essential factors to consider to choose the best mailing service that suits your needs:
Consider your Specific Shipping Requirements
When it comes to international shipping, one size does not fit all. Start by understanding your specific shipping requirements and consider factors such as the type of goods, volume or quantity, destination, and desired delivery timeline.
Different shipping companies may specialize in specific industries, goods, or regions. Hence, you’ll easily meet your shipping needs when properly aligned with their expertise.
Check Track Record for Reliability
No one wants to hand over their goods to an unreliable shipping company, and you can gauge this quality by checking their track records, especially for similar shipments as yours.
Read customer reviews, testimonials, and rankings. Check what is reported about their timeliness and general reliability. Finding shipping services with good records is usually a sign you can rely on them to deliver without complications or delays.
Evaluate Pricing for Affordability and Transparency
International shipping rates have a significant impact on your profit. So, pricing structures for shipping must be evaluated when optimizing your marketplace pricing. The best global shipping companies are usually transparent about their shipping costs which should help make comparisons.
While the most expensive shipping rates don’t guarantee the most reliable service, focusing on only the lowest prices is also not a good idea. Instead, try finding the right balance between rates and shipping services offered while paying attention to hidden or extra charges.
Remember you can also use the Easyship tool to calculate taxes and duties for major international shipping companies. With this tool, you can also gauge some of the fees that are usually not apparent.
Check Shipping Network
Each shipping company has a shipping network or coverage. Choosing an international shipping company with an extensive reach will offer you accessibility, but it may be more helpful to check specific regions.
It is also an excellent idea to consider companies with multiple shipping options like ocean, air, and land so you can easily access various destinations.
Evaluate Technology Adoption
Gone are the days of going days and months without any idea where your goods are. Using the improved connectivity and advanced technology, you can now track shipments in real time.
Look out for this option and other technologies when deciding the best way to ship internationally. Not only does this add another layer of transparency, but it will also keep your mind at peace while making it possible to address issues before or as soon as they arise.
One nice technology you can adopt is Just Ship IT, which automates the shipping label printing process and syncs tracking information with the eCommerce platforms.
Ensure Insurance Coverage
Ask shipping services about the insurance options available to ensure your shipments are protected while in transit. Ensuring they have the appropriate insurance policies is crucial for getting adequate compensation in case of damage, theft, or loss.
From Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and COSCO to Hapag-Lloyd, we have listed shipping companies that have proven themselves as reliable and efficient for international shipping. In addition to their extensive global networks, they offer advanced technologies to give customers maximum satisfaction.
Whether you’re shipping Amazon FBA orders or buying products from another country, these industry leaders will provide tailored shipping solutions and exceptional customer service.