Shipping speeds have been important to the tea trade ever since the 19th Century when the world was involved in a global Clipper race as vessels sped across the ocean in the hope of being the first to bring the year's tea crop from China to the West.
In those halcyon days, tea dealers were prepared to pay high prices to have the first tea of the season. In fact, prices were so high, ship owners paid off the entire cost of a ship's construction with the proceeds of just one voyage!
While shipping rates may have changed, speed and service have not. Safmarine has maintained the tradition of offering a fast shipping service. Our current service offers weekly departures from key load ports and door-to-door delivery to almost every corner of the globe.
Our more than 100 years experience in tea shipments has given us a strong foothold in key areas such as Europe, Africa and the Middle East and we continue to grow our customer base in Asia, North America and South America.
More than 35 direct port calls
Sturdy, clean and odour-free containers
Flexibility for changing discharge ports (world-wide)
Total transportation solution - from shipper's warehouse inland to consignee's warehouse at destination
Innovative transportation techniques developed together with customers
Partnerships with warehouses/forwarders
Delivery at consignee's warehouse at major tea ports
Long-standing relationships with tea decision-makers
Multilingual staff who speak the language of the tea trade
A member of tea associations
Dedicated web-page for tea customers
At Safmarine, we know that quality tea deserves quality care.
When it comes to shipping tea, two of the most important considerations are the quality of the container and having sufficient containers available to meet customer demand.
Safmarine has strict guidelines in place to ensure the required standard of containers for tea shipments. Each container is checked to ensure there are no holes to let in light and moisture and no odours to rob tea of its flavour and alter its aroma. We also check that doors can be securely locked, that containers are dry, that there is no rust inside the container and that there are no dents and sharp edges which could cause bruising.
Safmarine knows the important role an odour-free, clean container plays in helping to preserve the precious aroma of tea. Which is why each container is carefully checked to ensure it is free of any residues, rust and structural damage.
No odours of any kind - whether offensive or perfumed - are allowed in the container. Our containers are kept free of stains from oil, paint, carbon and washing materials (detergents, soaps). We ensure each container is free of polyethene pellets; free of rust stains (either on the inside of the roof or on inner side walls) and free of dust, litter or flaking paint. Rain gutters are checked to ensure water will not seep into the container through defective rubber seals.
We also check each container to ensure the floor boards do not have nail holes, that the wooden planks are intact and firm with no light leaks and that the overall structure is solid and sturdy.
Transportation and storage
Appropriate transportation of tea plays a vital role in ensuring the quality of the product to the consumer. Consumers around the world are benefiting from a fresher product now that tea is being bagged and stuffed into containers on the estate, being shipped at quick speeds directly to buyers and blenders in destinations often far from a seaport.
Once the bags of tea have been expertly packed into the container by the shipper, Safmarine undertakes to transport the tea safely from door-to-door; no matter how far the estate is from the port or the buyer from the destination port.
Close attention is paid to getting containers to the load port in as short a time as possible, to storing the container in the right stack to avoid too many moves (which increases likelihood of chaffing) and to checking that containers are properly sealed and ready for shipment. Documentation and Communication
Safmarine has gone to great lengths to ensure that the administrative side of shipping tea is as convenient as possible. Close attention is paid to ensuring that all documentation is accurate as per the shippers instruction, that documents are prepared and delivered timeously and that customers are provided with the correct number of documents.
We also aim to keep customers updated throughout the logistics chain - before they need to call us