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Air freight transport vs Sea freight transport | Full review

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Air freight transport vs Sea freight transport

Choosing the right shipping method is one of the most important parts of having a successful international trade.

Air freight transport vs Sea freight transport freight: Which one is better?

There is no definite answer to this question because various factors such as distance, cost consideration, time sensitivity, accessibility, etc. are involved when determining the choice between air and sea for freight transportation.

We have already explained about Rail freight transport VS Air freight transport & Rail freight transport VS Sea freight transport.

In this article, by comparing the pros and cons of each shipping method we will help you find out which option is the best for you.

Time sensitivity

Air freight is certainly much faster than sea freight and in this option even if it involves a few transshipments, cargo ship arrives at the destination way sooner than cargo shipped by sea.

And the large network of air freight allows shippers to export or import their cargo anywhere in the world as fast as possible.

Taking China to the US door-to-door takes about 8-10 days for air freight and 30 days or more on ocean freight.

You have to choose this method and have no other choices when time sensitivity is a major factor in transporting the cargo.

Although, not all the times you have to arrive the cargo to the customers as fast as possible, and not all the cargo is time-sensitive.

Cost consideration

Generally, the cost you evaluate for your cargo transportation mostly depends on its weight and your time constraints.

Due to the high fuel consumption and limited capacity of an airplane, and the volume of cargo a ship can carry at once an air freight shipment is considerably more expensive than the same volume of sea freight cargo. So air freight transport is a more suitable option for small shipments. It’s faster, safer, and more reliable than ocean freight if you’re willing to pay a higher price for shipping.

On the other hand for heavier shipments, it’s much more affordable to choose sea freight transportation and if you are concerned about saving money, sea freight transport will appeal to you.

Especially if you don’t have time constraints.

Type of cargo

Because of the container sizes of sea freighters that can support any type of goods and transport heavy equipment which simply isn’t transportable by air freight shipping, sea freight shipping has an absolute advantage over shipped by air.

Air freight is appropriate for the transport of perishable goods, like flowers or fresh produce.

air freight greatly reduces the distance between two points, so it can ensure the freshness of the perishable goods.

And air freight is more suitable for carrying unitized cargoes because it is limited in the type of cargo.


Air freight is most preferred for the most direct city-to-city transport and on routes between countries.

it is the preferred mode of shipping especially with retail perishable goods which need to reach the destination quickly.

Sea freight is superior for shipments that need to travel long distances between oceans and seas.

Ecological impact

Although this factor has no effect on your sale and costs, it is becoming more important to apply eco-friendly practices.

And due to ocean freight is the most carbon-efficient to transfer any cargoes it is a more reasonable option to choose between Air freight transport vs Sea freight transport as it has a significantly better carbon footprint.

Final Words

Ships are no longer the only way to transport cargoes. Airplanes can transfer cargoes faster safer and easier.

Ocean freight shipping is riskier if it’s important for you that your shipment arrives by a certain date.

But if you’re not limited by the time or you’re aiming to transport heavy equipment or you are trying to keep your costs down we’ll offer you the classic sea freight transport.

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