It is not an easy task to choose air freight vs. sea freight. It is especially difficult for those who are new to international shipping or don’t have much of an experience with either mode of transportation. While both the methods have their own pros and cons, it is beneficial to use either of them depending on your core requirement.
Air freight has many advantages over sea freight, but at times it is more beneficial to use a sea freight service instead. Sea freight has a much higher volume capacity than airfreight and is a more cost-effective option for transporting large volumes of cargo. But if you want your shipment delivered as quickly as possible, airfreight would be your best bet.
Choosing between the two could be confusing, we agree. This article takes a look at both of these modes giving you more clarity.
Air Freight vs. Sea Freight – Basic Characteristics
When time is of essence, air freight is preferred. Express shipping and fast transportation are synonymous with air freight. As obvious as it may sound, air shipping refers to shipping cargo by air on charter or commercial airplanes. Shippers who wish to keep their inventory lean and have faster TAT prefer air freight. Learn more about the significance of air freight in one of our previous articles.
When we talk about bulky or heavy shipments to be transported across international borders, sea freight is usually the choice. Sea freight, also known as ocean freight refers to transporting goods by sea on a shipping vessel. Shippers for who have an average of 20-30 days of shipping time at hand, have big volumes of not so high-value goods or who have bulky / break bulk shipments, prefer sea freight. Plus those who prefer a cost-effective method of shipping, sea freight is would be their choice.
When to Select Air Freight vs Sea Freight?
It is important to know the difference between air freight and sea freight, because both have different characteristics and appeal to different types of requirements. Understanding these difference will help you make a better choice. Below are some of the tips that will help you make a suitable choice:
- It is recommended to opt for air shipping when the shipping cost is less than about 20% of the goods value. But remember that freight charges are calculated based on the weight or volume of goods to be transported.
- If you are looking for safer and faster deliveries, safer and secure shipping options, air freight should be considered.
- If your cargo requires more security, air freight would be better. Cargo at the airport undergo more security checks compared to seaports.
- Choosing air freight also depends on the type of goods you are shipping
- Sea freight is a better option for heavy and larger volumes of shipments. Sea freight offers more capacity compared to air freight.
- It is slower than air freight, obviously. Sea freight could take 3X more time than air freight.
- Customs issue, holdups, route changes could result in more time delays
- Again, the type of goods that are shipped will dominate your choice between the tow modes.
ProConnect Integrated Logistics – Go-To Freight Forwarder
In recent months, shippers are facing a lot of challenges concerning sea freight – unavailability of container space in the shipping lines on the desired dates, delays, unexpected route changes, sky-rocketing shipping rates and lots more. Amidst this chaos, many are turning to air freight to address their urgent shipping needs.
Whether you choose air freight or sea freight, we can provide you the best connectivity and route options, competitive rates and excellent service. Our expert team across both the sectors reach out to our agents and network to get you the most favorable route options, schedules and rates. Our customers from a variety of industries IT, Electronics, FMCG, retail, oi and gas, e-commerce, construction, spare parts, apparel, food, etc. trust us with their shipments – air, road or sea; you should try us too!
We handle all the chaos and shipping documentation so that you don’t have to, simply share your enquiry and get a quick quote.