Come fly or sail away with me? Get to know if air or sea freight is better

September 9, 2016

 

Making that all important decision on how best to transport heavy haulage can be a difficult and at times circumstantial one. When it comes to weighing up air freight against sea freight, there are myriad complex factors that are dependent on the makeup of your business and its needs. However, there three consistent and predominant considerations that always come to the fore when looking to maximise your ROI and augment your bottom line.

For people who are entering into the market of heavy haulage shipping, these decisions need to be considered and weighed against each other. The important thing to remember, of course, is that both means of freight forwarding are excellent means of transportation, but each will have pros and cons. These nuances will be weighted in the positive or negative dependent on your business.

It’s all about the money

Increasing the bottom line is what any business is all about. When heavy machinery haulage is the name of the game it’s certainly one of the integral elements to be considered. Understanding how cost is calculated is the first step. When you ascertain how things are charged when shipped by air against sea, you can begin to formulate a plan to ship your goods. A general rule of thumb to follow is that in general there is a greater cost to transport bulkier and heavier goods through the air when compared to by sea.

When it comes to weighing up air freight against sea freight, there are myriad complex factors that are dependent on the makeup of your business and its needs.

The monetary value of sea freight is generaly calculated on a container-by-container basis. In contrast, air freight charges are done so on a chargeable weight basis. As air crafts have limited space, the size of the goods are taken into greater account. In recent years, the rates for sea freights have hit record lows.

By the end of 2015, the container equipment index price was US$1,450 per Car Equivalent Unit. This was down from US$1,900 the previous year. The index had had fallen to the all-time low seen in 2001-02 by the end of 2015.

This has widened the cost gap between air and sea freight.

Time – it’s not always on your side

In markets that are concentrated on fast-moving commodities, the speed with which goods can be transported is paramount to any business’ success. For time-sensitive international shipping, air freight is the fastest and direct means of shipping goods. Shipping goods from China to the UK, for instance can take up to ten times longer by sea than by air.

Whereas sea freight is more cost effective than air, the time-poor amongst us are drawn towards the desirable speed element of air shipping. Fast-moving consumer markets are more conducive to air freight.

If time is a major consideration, air freight may be the best option for you.If time is a major consideration, air freight may be the best option for you.

In a move that could potentially impact the sea freight sector, Amazon this year appeared to move to expand its freight services beyond trucking and air to include sea. January saw the e-commerce giant’s Chinese affiliate, Amazon China, register with the US Federal Maritime Commission. This is one of a number of moves required for the company to make before Amazon China can ship packages. It is a move worth monitoring, though, as it could greatly impact on the shipment of goods by sea.

Reliable is as reliable does

There are times when the reliability of the transport method used has more emphasise placed on it than that of speed and cost. Traditionally, air freight is considered to be more reliable than sea. However, when working with established and experienced freight companies you can rest assured that your shipment will be transport in as reliable a manner as possible.

In regards to air freight, it’s important to ensure that you are working with a company that is a Regulated Air Cargo Agent, or member of AFIF.

Roll-on, roll-off (RoRo), break bulk and oversized shipping are all integral elements of the services provided by Freightplus. Where your dollar goes further with Freightplus is that we offer comprehensive import and export sea freight services from door-to-door, ensuring the entire process is handled smoothly.

In regards to air freight, it’s important to ensure that you are working with a company that is a Regulated Air Cargo Agent, or member of AFIF. The proliferation of smart and tracking devices enables businesses to track their shipments online to a greater extent than ever before.

Find the best fit for you

Arguably the most important consideration for any logistics manager is the bottom line of the company. This needs to be weighed up against the difference in price that comes with air and sea freight shipping. By working with experienced freight forwarding companies such as Freightplus will help ascertain the best method to physically move your goods, yet simultaneously offer you healthy profit margins. At Freightplus, we have the experience and knowledge to best work with you and your model to outline the best logistical solution moving forward.

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