Which is Better for You: Ocean Freight vs Air freight

Which is Better for You: Ocean Freight vs Air freight

International trade has transformed the economies of all countries. With businesses entering new markets nationally and internationally, freight services have become popular. Businesses now rely on internationally recognized freight services to provide on-time delivery of products to international clients. Of all the available freight modes, ocean freight and airfreight have garnered the highest interest.

Ocean freight – what is it?

Ocean freight or sea freight is among the oldest methods of cargo transportation. It was used long before the invention of the aeroplane, and to this date, it is still a popular mode of cargo transport. Ocean freight has become the preferred mode of international cargo transport. As the name suggests, the cargo is transported by sea in large freight ships.

The cargo is often pre-packed and checked before being loaded into large shipping containers. These containers are then loaded into shipping vessels to ensure the cargo itself is not damaged during transport.

The containers are usually made from metals like stainless steel, ensuring the cargo is not exposed to the environment. There are three types of containers available; these are classified based on their length. Most ocean freight services provide:

20 feet containers (known as general-purpose)

40 feet containers (general purpose)

40 feet cubes (for special shipments)

Ocean freight uses ships with high capacity. The ships travel on pre-fixed transport routes and schedules and offer on-time delivery to customers all over the world. Ocean freight accounts for 90% of global cargo transport. The primary reason for this is that ocean freight is flexible and scalable. Businesses can increase or decrease their shipment size without significantly altering their rates.

Ocean freight – what do you get?

Some advantages of ocean freight are:

  1. Ocean freight can be used to transport extremely heavy cargo. Where airfreight has weight limitations, ocean freight can transport extremely large or extremely heavy cargo without difficulties.
  2. It is a cost-effective method of cargo transport. The cost does not significantly increase when the shipment size increases, and as a result, businesses can maintain low shipment costs for international shipping.
  3. Ocean freight uses much less fuel than airfreight or road freight. As a result, ocean freight is regarded as the most environmentally friendly method of cargo transport.
  4. Airfreight has several safety and weight restrictions. In contrast, there are fewer restrictions and documentation for transporting by air. This is especially beneficial since it reduces transportation time.

Some disadvantages of ocean freight are:

  1. Ocean freight is much slower than airfreight and takes five to six times as long to transport the same cargo. This is not ideal for businesses that require quick delivery.
  2. Ocean freight has unpredictable shipment times. Ocean freight is vulnerable to poor weather conditions. As a result, shipment via ocean freight often means there are delays due to poor weather or customs.
  3. Since the transportation time is longer, the goods are in transit longer, and there is a higher chance of the cargo being damaged during transport.
  4. There is a higher risk of goods being damaged, misplaced, or mishandled since the transit time is long and the customs are done manually.

Airfreight – what is it?

Airfreight is regarded as the fastest cargo transportation method. Airfreight, commonly known as air cargo, is generally used when transporting goods overseas. The method is preferred by businesses who want to keep their delivery time short and meet tight deadlines.

Many businesses confuse airfreight with air couriers. While air courier shipping is a door-to-door solution, courier companies generally handle it. The courier is used to transport small packages like documents, individual products, and so forth. In contrast, airfreight is used for high-value products in small and large quantities.

Compared to ocean freight, which takes between 20 to 60 days depending on the location, airfreight usually takes 1 to 2 weeks. This is further reduced if the shipment is national.

Airfreight – what do you get?

Some advantages of airfreight are:

  1. Fast and reliable international shipping since the safety checks are stringent.
  2. The insurance rates are low, which ensures the business saves money.
  3. Airfreight requires low packaging, and there is a lower chance of damage since the cargo is in transit for a lesser time.
  4. Airfreight comes with accurate tracking, and transport can be done internationally.

The primary disadvantage of ocean freight is that it is expensive. Since airfreight provides quick delivery, it is generally more expensive than sea or ocean freight. As a result, this method is often used to transport time-sensitive, delicate, small, or expensive packages.

Both ocean freight and airfreight have their advantages and disadvantages, and as a result, businesses find it difficult to choose between the two types of freight services. This article highlights the primary differences between the two freights and how businesses can decide which one is the ideal fit for them. With this, we hope you can find the right choice for you.



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