Choosing Ocean Freight or Air Freight

air shipping

So you need to ship your goods to another country that happens to be on another continent. This means having to choose between air freight or ocean freight. Which of the two of these shipping methods are better? Let us look at some of the common variables when shipping and see who comes out on top.

Shipping Expenses

The first thing that anyone asks is “how much does it cost?” In the case of ocean vs. air, ocean wins hands down in the cost competition. Ocean liners are the most inexpensive method you could choose for shipping your goods. Air freight is the most expensive method that you could choose to ship your goods overseas. If cost is the bottom line, there is only one answer.

Time to Destination

As handily as ocean freight won the cost category, it loses in the speed category. Ocean shipments, while cheap, take a long time. Depending on the route and the destination, shipping by sea can take up to a month or more if there are delays.

Compare this to air travel; shipping takes only days to arrive at your destination. This is where air freight excels. If you need to get something somewhere fast, air is your best bet.

Safety and Reliability

These two items are somewhat related in that you want your shipments to arrive both intact and on time. In the safety category, air and ocean freight are about equal. Sure, planes can crash and ships can sink- but in general, cargo arrives at the destination in one piece.

The second part of this category is where air freight pulls ahead. Air plane schedules are done in terms of days. Ocean going vessels are worked out in weeks. Delays are much more likely to happen when using sea travel than air travel. This could mean an upset customer who did not receive their goods on time.

Shipping Volume

Ships are much larger and more capable of carrying goods than airplanes are. One of the most restrictive parts of shipping air freight is the fact that only small amount of goods, compared to an ocean going vessel, can be shipped in a plane. Shipping vessels are built to carry lots of cargo and to do so effectively. Airplanes are restricted by weight constraints, fuel constrains and sometimes material constraints.

When choosing air or ocean freight, it is best to determine what the most important factors to you are, then choose the shipping method that best meets your needs. For your packing and crating needs, contact Cratex, experts in industrial packing and crating. We can make sure no matter what mode you choose, your goods are ready to make the journey.