Air Freight Vs Sea Freight – Which is the Best Overseas Shipping Solution?

If you’re a business that often ships goods overseas you’ll need to establish the most effective solution for getting your items from A to B.

To help you decide which is the best option for you and your business’ needs, in this guide we’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the two most popular overseas shipping solutions, air freight and sea freight.

Air Freight Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Air Freight

Fast – Air freight is undoubtedly the fastest shipping method. When your products need to reach their destination quickly, air freight is the ideal method.

Secure – Airport safety controls over cargo are tightly managed, meaning your products are less likely to be damaged or stolen. Most companies also give you the ability to track and monitor the status of your goods from departure to arrival.

Ship Your Goods Anywhere – Most airlines have an incredibly large network of destinations and can thus ship to nearly any location in the world.

Reliable – Air freight shipping is arguably the most reliable shipping solution because airlines stick to their schedules and have dependable departure and arrival times. And even if there was a cancelled or delayed flight, there shouldn’t be too much of a delay as the majority of air freight services operate on daily schedules (usually with hourly departures).

Disadvantages of Air Freight

Costly – Air freight is typically much more expensive than shipping via the ocean. This is because planes require considerably more fuel and air freight cost is calculated by weight rather than volume.

Size and Weight Limitations – As there is only a limited amount of space available in the cargo area of a plane, there is likely to be some weight and size limitations imposed on the items you can ship.

Weather Dependent – Although air freight does tend to be pretty reliable and airlines do stick to their schedule most of the time, it’s important to remember that bad weather can cause flight delays. This can cause uncertainty about when your goods will arrive at their destination. Some weather conditions may clear up in a few hours, but others can last several days – this can inevitably impact air shipments that need to arrive on specific dates.

Sea Freight Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Sea Freight

Economical – The cost of shipping your goods via sea freight is usually far less than that of air. This is because sea freight services allow you to ship goods in large quantities and because they tend to have lower land costs.

Flexible – The vessels used in sea freight can accommodate a wide range of items, regardless of their weight, size and dimensions. They are designed to carry large amounts of goods so are the ideal option for transporting high volumes of cargo as well as bulky items like vehicles, industrial parts and machinery. Smaller items can also be arranged to be grouped with other small cargo to fill containers.

Environmentally Friendly – Ships provide the most carbon-efficient mode of transport as they consume the least amount of fuel.

Safety – The containers your items are stored in when being shipped over sea are very secure. They provide great protection to the goods, protecting them not only from the weather but also temperature variations, theft and impacts during handling. This greatly reduces the risk of loss and deterioration.

Disadvantages of Sea Freight

Slow – Sea freight can be very time-consuming, with goods sometimes taking a month or two to arrive at their destination.

Global Reach Might Not be Available – With sea freight, the countries you want to ship to must have the appropriate infrastructure to receive large vessels carrying containers. If they don’t have the appropriate facilities and ports, for instance, you’ll have to find another way to get your goods there.

Riskier – The risks associated with sea freight tend to be significantly higher due to the length of time it takes to deliver the goods. This method of shipping is more likely to encounter extreme weather conditions and delays.

Overseas Shipping with Allegro Logistics

We specialise in freight forwarding by both air and sea. If you’d like to find out about our overseas shipping solutions, or want to seek professional advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Our team would be more than happy to provide you with bespoke recommendations based upon your business’ specific requirements and budget.

Get in touch today.

Full-Service Freight Forwarding with Allegro

Make sure that you are using a fully certified, trusted freight forwarder to ship your goods. They will have the connections and expertise needed to make sure that your expectations are exceeded through vigorous compliance.

At Allegro Freight Forwarding, we work hard to make your life easy. Our team can fully manage your freight, from choosing the transportation method that’s best for you to navigating the complexities of customs and borders. Our end-to-end solution takes all the hassle out of shipping by collaborating with our sister company to supply your logistics needs.

Contact a member of the team – the solution to your forwarding needs could be just one call away. Check out our range of services, or find out more about freight forwarding with our article on its differences with logistics.

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