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International Forwarding Association Blog » Specialized transportation » Shipping Requirements and Types of Transport for Fish Products
Transport for Fish Products

Shipping Requirements and Types of Transport for Fish Products

Freight forwarders often transport fish products across Europe, including dried, salted, live, and fresh fish. Factors they need to account for include type of product, distance, and transportation costs.

Products and Shipping Requirements

Fresh Fish

Different factors play a role when transporting preserved and fresh fish. Fresh fish must be shipped to a distribution or holding facility as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The goal is to deliver high quality, fresh products that meet consumer expectations. Some species require additional processing such as cooling, packing, and canning but the period from catching fish to delivery is important to preserving quality. Preservation is one of the most important factors when shipping fresh fish across large distances and from remote and isolated areas. In some cases, it takes weeks before fishermen are able to export their catch, and forwarders must ensure that export meets quality standards.

Shell fish also requires quick and efficient processing and specialized transportation. Distance from origin to the final destination is an important factor when it comes to freezing, chilling, icing, and cooling.

Products and Shipping Requirements


Preserved Fish

This category includes a variety of different products such as fish sauce and pickled, fermented, dried, and salted fish. The main factor that makes shipping easier is portability. Preserved products do not require cooling during transportation and storage which lowers the overall costs. This also makes preserved products more accessible and affordable in less affluent, distant, and isolated locations.

Modes of Transportation

Air transport is rarely used due to factors such as limited space and higher costs. What is more, air carriers are often reluctant to transport fish because of odor that takes days to get rid of. A little over 5 percent of fish is shipped by air cargo. Sea transport is the preferred mode of transportation, and especially designed ships are used. The size and design of the vessel depend on the conditions to be encountered, i.e. whether the ship is under rough seas most of the time. Stack bins and boxes are often stored in divided, slide-proof bays. The carrying capacity of the ship is also taken into account. In some cases, fishermen provide larger quantities that require more space to store and ship.

Some international freight forwarders also transport live fish. In this case, live fish carriers fitted with tanks must be used. They are equipped with advanced systems that supply water and oxygen. Vessels also feature a free deck area, syphon unloading and loading, closed loop circulation, and individual forced water circulation. Adequate size fish tanks are used to ensure prime quality and proper fish density. The ultimate goal is to ensure high quality, hygiene, fish welfare, and low fish mortality, by minimizing environmental pollution at the same time. All ships must comply with current environmental regulations.

Live fish carriers are generally used for fish farming support and for the shipping of cod, trout, salmon, and other types of fresh farmed fish.