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Air Freight vs Sea Freight | What is the Best Transport Solution?

If you are in doubt between air transport and sea ​​transport, in this article we present and explain in detail the differences between these two types of transport, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.

How important is the choice of the type of transport?
Transportation is the main factor to consider as it has a major impact on supply chain costs. Exactly, companies will have to deal with aspects of transportation and associated hidden costs that could affect their bottom line. GST, storage fees, demurrage fees, detention, inspection fees, wait times, etc.

Our Tip: To stay competitive, you should seek to minimize costs and wait times when shipping materials from overseas.

What is cheaper between air transport and sea transport?
As we explain below, sea ​​freight is usually cheaper. Indeed, sea freight takes longer, but it increases the volume of goods, which allows for better economies of scale.

What should you consider when choosing air or sea freight?
When choosing an air or sea transportation service, you should consider the following:

  • the speed and urgency
  • the cost
  • the risk
  • the contractual obligations
  • the environmental impact
  • the reliability

What to choose according to speed and urgency?

If you want your goods to reach their destination quickly, air freight has a much shorter lead time than sea freight.

But you need to take into account that the price of air freight is higher than that of sea freight. That’s why we recommend that you organize your shipments in advance if possible, to avoid having to pay more for urgent shipments.

The impact of price on your choice of shipping

As we mentioned before, the prices vary depending on the urgency and how much you are willing to pay.

If you want to be sure your supplies get to their destination quickly, you need to be prepared to pay extra for air freight. On the other hand, if you have more time for delivery and you don’t plan to spend a lot of money, sea freight is more advisable. It is also important to compare air and sea freight insurance premiums when purchasing a marine insurance policy.

Which one is more reliable between air transport and maritime transport?

Air and sea transport both are reliable, but in either case, there may be problems during the journey.

During air transport, there may be some problems due to bad weather or other exceptional circumstances such as strikes. Airplanes can also be exposed to engine failures or emergency landings. These cases are extremely rare and that is why air travel is considered to be one of the safest ways to ship goods.

In contrast, shipping is reliable because ships are built to withstand extreme weather conditions which, in the worst case, can cause unexpected delays. Another rare threat to shipments is piracy.

It is for this reason that it is important to consult your shipper when considering doing ocean freight, and you should make sure that you have marine insurance in case of damage or total loss of the cargo.

The impact of contractual obligations to a buyer on your choices

Ask yourself if you have any contractual obligations to your customers.

In the event that your customer demands that a product be delivered by a specific date, you should choose air transport as it is the fastest. On the other hand, if in the contractual obligation the buyer wants to save costs, you should choose sea ​​transport.

What type of transport should I use when stock is available?

You can decide to use ocean freight depending on the available stock, and if not, or in an emergency move to air freight. Your choice will depend on the situation and we cannot establish generality at this level.

Why do you need to consider cargo capacity?

One of the advantages of ocean freight is that you can ship heavy and bulky goods much easier than air freight. Airfreight is generally used to transport goods. When your cargo gets oversized, you may need to consider cargo ships, charters, or partial charter solutions. These options can have a substantial impact on costs.

What is the best type of transport for the competition?

Competition is of the utmost importance in today’s global economy. Businesses have learned to compete with cheaper offers, shorter delivery times, and faster order fulfillment. If you have a lot of competition, you may want to consider air freight over ocean freight to provide faster service to your door.

What is the most harmless to the ecosystem method of transport?

For many customers, environmental policies are important. If you want to have a “green” label or if you are targeting an environmentally conscious market, you should know that in general and from a pollution point of view, sea freight is to be preferred over air freight.

Tip from MyXBorder It’s important not to look at each factor separately, but rather to consider the combined effect of all of these factors on your business.


Author Bio

Name- Srividya Kannan

Bio- Srividya is a techie by heart having global working experience in the USA, Europe, and Asia. She is the director and co-founder of MyXBorder, a company that offers Shipping Forwarding Services ( i.e. myntra delivery to UAE, amazon India to the USA, flipkart delivery to the USA, etc ) all over the world. She is an entrepreneur who is always enthusiastic about applying technologies to solve business problems and also a busy mom of 2 who is always exploring ways to make life easier.


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