What is Air Freight?
Air freight logistics is the transportation of goods by an air carrier that is chartered or scheduled. For many businesses, air freight is a common option as it guarantees passage for their products to anywhere in the world that an aircraft can fly to and land. Goods delivered by air have the advantage of being taken at high speed to their final destination, which could prove useful if the shipment is time-sensitive. It helps smaller and medium-sized businesses to take part in foreign trade.
What is Ocean Freight?
Ocean freight is a form of moving goods by sea. According to this procedure, vast volumes of goods are packed in containers and shipped by sea routes overseas. It is one of the most common modes of transportation used worldwide by exporters and importers.
The differences between air and sea freight is clearly distinguishable, but for shippers, there is much more to consider. This comprehensive guide will help you learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both ocean and air freight and steer you in the direction that is right for your next shipment.
Factors to determine to choose ocean or air freight
Choosing between 2 freight models is complex but it is a significant step towards building a successful supply chain. As with most business decisions, there are lots of factors to consider when choosing between 2 types of freights. Consider what is important for you, transit time or cost? Is sustainability an important metric for your business? So here are some of the significant factors shippers must take into consideration when deciding between air freight and Ocean freight services.
Cost is an important factor when it comes to choosing a freight model. Naturally, you would want to choose a model that costs you less but you must understand how carriers charge for International shipping. It is being told that ocean freight is cheaper than shipping by air, but that is not necessarily the case.
Airlines bill shipments by chargeable weight which is calculated by the size and weight of the shipment. Whereas ocean carriers charge per container rates for shopping in standard sizes with 20' and 40' being the most common size of containers. While weight is also considered when calculating the prices, sea carriers calculates cost based more on the size of a given shipment.
If you are shipping less than a container load, the cost is determined by cubic meter. If your shipment is heavy, it is better to ship with ocean carriers as it is cheap. However, if the shipment size is small, the margin between prices gets small and in that case, air freight will end get equally cheaper. Whether you ship by sea or air, you must know that there are destination and customs charges to count. While the real shipping cost for ocean shipment is much cheaper than the cost of air shipment, the warehousing fee at seaports can get costlier than those at airports at times.
When you consider speed, Air cargo services are much faster than sea carrier services. As time is literally money, it justifies the high cost of air cargo. Many sea shipments take around a couple of weeks or even a month to arrive. But air shipment takes just a day or two to deliver. When it comes to most business-related shipping, the faster, the better. It must be noted that technology is advancing in the international shipping world as well. With better technology shopping via the sea is getting faster, too. Canals have led to shorter shopping routes and many reputed ocean freight shopping companies deliver the shipment in as less as 7 days.
3. Environmental impact
Not everything is about convenience, faster shipping, and cost-cutting. As a reputed company, every shipment company has the responsibility of taking care of the planet in which we live to tackle the environmental issues. The CO2 emission is quite higher in air freight transit than the ocean freight. Ocean freights are an easy way to reduce carbon emissions. However, talking about water ecosystems and oil spills gives pause.
4. Ease and reliability
Fewer days of travel time lead to less stress. Even a small issue during sea freight can cause significant delays, air freight rebounds quickly. Even if air freight is interrupted due to weather factors, there will always be an alternate flight available within 24 hours. Once a cargo is loaded on a flight you will have an approximate time frame when the shipment will arrive at the next airport. This gives a better understanding about the timings and it is much easier to get the cargo to the final destination. Moreover, most countries have streamlined paperwork and customs requirements for air. The general process for booking, pricing and collecting documents are more streamlined making it the easiest and reliable shipment model.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Ocean & Air Freight
Getting an item shipped from one to another point is always difficult. But with latest shipping methods like air freight and ocean freight sending shipments became easier. But both methods has its advantages and disadvantages. The major benefit of sending your shipment by sea is when it can carry almost any number of goods and its far most cost-efficient than any other method. But, when you opt for ocean freight, keep in mind that you are dealing with the longest lead time of any transport methods. Your cargo might take weeks or months to reach the destination. When you are in a hurry, it is better to look for air freight carriers.
Let’s check out the pros and cons of both air freight and ocean freight models.
Advantage of Air Freight
- Most preferred for a direct city to city transport
- Global reach
- Fastest available solution
- Highly accurate shipping dates
- Online shipping tracking service
- Reduce dependence on warehousing
- End to end services
- Low risks due to short transit times
Disadvantage of Air Freight
- Premium price
- Size and weight limitations
- Weather dependent
- Subjected to regulations
Advantage of Ocean Freight
- Preferred for longer transits
- Cheap freight
- Less maintenance cost
- Best for bulky good and chemicals
- Important for foreign traders
- Eco-friendly and safe
- Offers better efficiency
Disadvantage of Ocean Freight
- Slow speed
- Weather obstructions or long delays can happen
- Lack of infrastructure
- More intermediary costs involved
Now that you know the pros and cons of air and ocean freight models, choose the one suited for you based on your shipment characteristics. If you have any trouble regarding shipment, the best freight forwarders in India can help you for better convenience and cost-efficiency. The utmost significant factor to consider when selecting between these models of transport is that everything is dependent on the current situation. In situations where speed is important over price, choose based on priority. But remember that it must be only in scenarios where you will draw a profit out of the deal. However, if there is no need for quick delivery, you can easily choose to ocean freight to deliver the shipment at a least expensive price.