How to choose between ocean and air freight

There are 2 types of freight you can choose from when you ship goods abroad: airplane and ship. For commercial purposes, it’s important to carefully examine the needs of your clients, and pick your option accordingly. This will have a direct impact on your business operations, and consequently will impact the success of your work. Expert shipping and logistics companies will share a few points you should consider. To choose between ocean and air freight, you should factor in your budget and time. However, there are other aspects worth mentioning. Let’s review them in the text that follows.

Key factors to help you choose between ocean and air freight

Shipping by air is faster and more expensive, while the ocean is a cheaper variant, but much slower. These are the main generalities when you need to choose between ocean and air freight. However, beyond these simple differences, there’s much to think about. With an extensive experience in coordinating air freight to Saudi Arabia, our specialists will mention the 4 most important points to pay attention to.

  • Cost
  • Speed
  • Dependability
  • Environmental impact
A look through an airplane window on ships in the sea
To choose between air and ocean freight, you need to factor in many things

The most obvious factor – the cost

Freight rates are a subject to constant fluctuations. Each country has its own shipping rates. For your convenience, check this with your logistics services provider. The unwritten rule says that ocean is cheaper than air. But, this is not a fact set in stone. Various factors and circumstances will determine the cost of your shipment. Make a point to learn more about the charges of international shipping, and what causes fluctuation in prices. If you select air freight, you will be charged by the weight of your shipment. The cost of ocean freight on the other hand, is calculated based on volume. Hence, if you wonder how to choose between ocean and air freight purely based on the cost, the best way to determine is to ask yourself if paying premium rates is worth the speed. The need for speed justifies premium rates.

Air freight is faster than its’ ocean counterpart

We all know that time is money. This is especially true if you run a business. Certain businesses require faster goods delivery, and based on this they make their freight forwarding decisions. Hence, you need to consider the needs and requirements of your clients. Fast delivery of products spells customers’ satisfaction, and this is when you’ll benefit from air freight. However, fast delivery is not always a requirement. If you can spare some extra time for delivering your goods, ocean freight is excellent option. Ships are not as fast as airplanes, but with tech advancements they get lighter and faster.

A cargo ship on the sea
Air freight is faster than the ocean service, but it tends to be more pricey as well

Choose between air and ocean freight based on dependability

While air freight can be delayed due to many circumstances, it boasts a stellar speed, hence delays in goods delivery are rare. Ocean freight has a reputation of being notoriously on time. Now then, what is the difference? The simple answer would be – the season in which you’re shipping. Your 3PL provider will be able to advice on this so you come up with a solution to fit you best. Reliability is a desirable perk in the business world, and being flexible in terms of shipping options is one way to demonstrate it to your valued clients.

The environmental impact of shipping

In today’s world, everyone is held responsible for protecting the planet. People are getting more environmentally conscious, and choose ecological products that have minimal impact on pollution. Airplanes are blamed for producing high CO2 emission, and polluting the air. But ocean freight is not immune to critic either. Oil spills and other issues are noted to have a negative impact on water ecosystems, hence, both, air and ocean freight are linked with climate changes.  Although this may seem trivial, it’s important to consider it as a valid point to help you choose between air and ocean freight. If you’re building a brand, it can have a direct impact on its’ success. 

In summary, these are the key points to consider for an informed decision to choose between air and ocean freight. Take your lead from the points above and talk to your logistics company. You’ll be able to make the right choices for your business, and ensure it’s efficiency. Good luck.

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