When it comes to international shipping there are two choices: international air freight or ocean freight. In the end, it is your decision to make the choice between speeds versus cost versus environmental impact. If you want the packages to be delivered safely on time, no matter what the cost is, the best choice is air shipping. If you are more concerned about the cost and the environmental impact, you are better off with ocean shipping.
There are four key factors that you need to consider before making the decision.
Cost is the most important thing to consider before selecting the method of transportation. As a businessperson, if cost catches your attention the most, then you are better off with ocean shipping.
You can ask for ocean freight shipping quotes from the different service providers to make the best decision. Airlines charge you by the weight. Chargeable weight is calculated by combining the weight and size of the shipment. While on the other hand, ocean freight service provider will calculate the weight depending upon the size of the shipment.
The larger and heavier shipment is often cheaper to ship through the sea. As shipment gets smaller, the margin also narrows down and sometimes air transport ends up to be less expensive.
The business owner needs to note that there are destination charges to think upon. If you are shipping by air or by sea, it will attract custom and destination charges. While the shipment from the sea is usually cheaper than air freight, but the warehousing cost at seaport is much more expensive as compared to the airport.
When it comes to speed, air freight is usually the better option. It is much faster as compared to sea freight. Many sea shipments take around a month to arrive at the destination as compared to air freight (it usually takes 1 or 2 days). If your business needs to ship the goods faster, air freight is the best bet.
3. Custom Clearance
In ocean shipping, customs clearance can take a day to four days. It varies depending upon the shipment and port. If it is a small shipment, there is a possibility that other shipments sharing the same container can cause you a delay. After the clearance, the shipper needs a few more days to transport the goods. As the cargo will be classified it will be then loaded to the consignee destination. Finally, it will be loaded to the truck.
However, if the consignee doesn’t live in a metro city, the shipment will further require more time as the shipment will go to CFS for consolidation with the shipments that are destined to reach a similar area. All this adds up more time.
On the other hand, air shipment requires only a few days. When the airplane arrives at the destination, the cargo is unloaded immediately. The custom clearance starts within the same day or after one day and it takes not more than 2 days to complete the process.
After the clearance, the cargo moves without having to wait for anything else. Therefore, cargo is immediately loaded on a truck and is delivered to the consignee. This is why you pay an extra amount for air shipments.
When it comes to reliability, air freight wins the battle because it takes much lesser time to transport the cargo. Though the flights may get delayed due to bad weather conditions and other factors, yet it is more reliable.
Ocean carriers will take longer than air carriers to deliver to the same destination. Many times, we have seen that ships can go off-schedule due to certain mishaps or bad weather conditions. While there are many airlines that offer daily flights back and forth between major cities hence missing a flight is not a grave concern. Ocean lines have a weekly schedule. So, missing the same contributes to more delay.
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These were a few basic differences between ocean freight and air freight. Make sure to know these so that you can get the product delivered on time and at cost-effective price points