It requires detailed planning and complex logistics to ship internationally. Road freight is effective in both domestic and international short-distance transport. The only viable options for overseas shipping are air freight and sea freight.
Freight forwarding companies provide these services. It might be a challenge for UK-based business owners to decide which type of freight forwarding to choose. To answer this question, several factors need to be taken into consideration.
The purpose of this article is to discuss how air freight and sea freight work and highlight the notable differences between them.
Differences and similarities between air and sea freight
In both air freight and sea freight, the goal is to transport cargo successfully between points A and B. A clear difference between air freight and sea freight is the use of aircraft versus carrier ships.A clear difference between air freight and sea freight is the use of aircraft versus carrier ships.
However, many freight forwarders have to plan cargo shipping using several different types of vessels.
Therefore, if the sea shipment’s final destination does not have a port, air transport will typically complete the journey.
You should however keep in mind that there are thousands of seaports worldwide, with over 800 of them handling 99% of all international trade.
Factors to consider when comparing air freight with sea freight
It depends on the circumstances whether air freight or sea freight will be more beneficial to your business. In most cases, the nature and size of your business will determine what you will ask freight forwarding companies. Freight forwarders based in the UK typically offer both types of services and help you choose the one that is right for you. The most important factors to consider are listed below.
This factor has already been discussed earlier, but it deserves further clarification. It is ideal to use air freight for international city-to-city transport if the routes are direct.
As an example, this is a very common method of shipping for retail companies and companies with frequent product movement. It is natural that sea freight services, or ocean shipping, is a better option for long distances spanning several oceans.
The type of cargo
There is a very important factor to consider when deciding what type of vessel to use for your shipment: the type of cargo. The limitations of air freight are greater than those of sea freight. When it comes to unitised cargo, air freight is the best solution, but there are a few exceptions.
As a result, sea freight holds a significant advantage over air freight in terms of cargo versatility. It is particularly useful to move heavy equipment by sea carriers because they accept all types of containers and goods.
Another important factor in freight forwarding is time sensitivity. It is not always possible to ship a shipment on a short deadline, and in those cases, you may want to consider sea freight instead of air freight. However, when it comes to quick transit, air freight is the better option.
It is also well documented that even though the shipping process involves multiple planes, the cargo always arrives much faster than it would via sea. When time is not of the essence and there is a high volume of goods to transport, sea freight is usually the most cost-effective option.
Prices are going to influence the decision-making process, no matter what. Air freight is considerably more expensive than sea freight because of its convenience and expediency.
Additionally, the price difference covers an aircraft’s higher fuel consumption and general operating costs.
Shipping by sea is much more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. There are often even greater savings to be made by combining sea freight with road and train freight.
It is a major concern of many freight forwarding clients whether their cargo will be safe during transit. In many cases, air freight is a better option for fragile cargo since it requires minimal handling.
In addition, the regulations regarding storage and handling are more stringent when it comes to air shipping. Sea freight is not necessarily unsafe, but the sheer volume of cargo increases the likelihood of damage. Furthermore, sea freight tends to be more delayed due to congestion at ports.
Who Wins in the Air-Sea Freight War?
Ultimately, there is no need to declare a winner in this duel, as there is no real competition. Each has a purpose in the world of commerce, and air freight and sea freight coexist successfully.
There is only one challenge: determining the optimal solution for you. To plan your next cargo shipment in detail, you’ll need the assistance of a reliable freight forwarding company like GenX Freight.