Like with most shipping options, international freight shipping presents shippers with a variety of transport methods from services by air freight or ocean freight. These two methods ensures that products and goods are delivered on time and intact. There are many benefits to using one over the other, which is up to the shipper to decide whichever service will be best to fit their needs and move their items.
Here are four major factors to consider when making this decision on whether to use services by air freight or ocean freight for your next shipment.
Cost of Transport
The cost of each of the modes of transport is a major factor that comes to mind. The general assumption is that sea freight is cheaper than air freight – however, contrary to popular belief, there are many different things to consider, like the quality or category of the item(s) being shipped. To understand these differences, airlines bill chargeable weights which are the combination of size and weight while sea carriers charge containers. The size of a consignment determines the cost of ocean freight more than the actual weight and shipping less than a container is determined by the cubic meter. Larger and heavier shipments are cheaper by sea than air.
Another twist to this is destination charges. Customs and destination fees are other variables that affect your cost. Sea freights can end up more expensive than air freight if, for instance, the warehousing fee at the seaport is higher than that of the airport. It is highly recommended to compare all these options to make the best choice for when the time comes.
The Speed of the Shipment
The speed of services by air freight compared to sea freight is undisputedly faster, and this is ideal for businesses. While sea freight takes about a month, air cargo takes a day or two. With the advancement in technology that sea freight has witnessed in recent years, sea freight is getting faster in an unprecedented way. Opening up of new canals have made some routes shorter with delivery made as low as eight days.
To read and learn more about the speed of shipment and which industries this affects, be sure to read our article on the 5 Major Industries that Require Expedited Shipping and Logistics Services.
Reliability of the Service
Services by air freight remain more reliable in their delivery than sea freight even with flights delay due to bad weather and other factors. A ship being off schedule is not strange – but this may result in the delay of a day or two, which can be extremely damaging to business. Airlines fly routes daily around the world, unlike ocean lines that have weekly schedules
Social responsibility to our environment is a factor that molds public perception about a company, and this goes a long way to determine its bottom line. CO2 emissions are higher with airlines than ocean lines. However, on the other hand, ocean lines affect the water ecosystem.
Either way, it is sliced, there are many pros to using one over the other (and cons), but some troubles are much greater than the other. It is up to the shipper to decide which is the best mode of transport for them, that aligns with their company vision and values, and that they are making the best use a third-party freight shipper.
For additional information on the differences between air and ocean freight services, check our pages here for Air Freight and Ocean Freight. Or, check out our complete guide to freight shipping titled at, “The Ultimate Guide to Freight Shipping Services“.
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