Best Shipping Option (Sea Freight vs Air Freight)

On April 24, 2023

Should You Use Sea Freight or Air Freight?


What is the best shipping method for your business, air freight or sea freight? The logistics can be problematic if you don’t understand the differences between the freight methods. Meeting delivery timelines and increasing shipment costs may be some of your problems. The wrong pallet container may also cause problems when shipping items.

Therefore, you should know more about shipping methods before choosing one. You will learn what air freight is, the advantages and disadvantages of each method of shipping, as well as how freight carriers charge shippers for air freight vs sea freight.

How Does Air Freight Work?


Shipments of goods and materials through air carriers are known as air freight or air cargo. In comparison to sea freight transport, it is the fastest method of delivery. General and special air cargo solutions are offered by air cargo transporters.

The best shipping solution for valuables in pallet containers, such as electronics or pharmaceuticals, is general cargo. When shipping goods that must meet certain conditions, use special cargo. It may be necessary to control temperature or air flow, or to package or store goods in a protective manner. Hazardous goods and livestock can also be shipped using special cargo.

Shipping hazardous products is regulated by national and international laws in the U.S. and other countries. To transport goods by air, ground, or ocean, businesses in the industrial industry must follow federal regulations.

If you work in this sector, you need to meet strict labeling and packaging requirements in order to be accepted by carriers. It is important for companies shipping chemicals and liquids to use durable IBC totes, such as cleaners and beverages.

Hazardous and Dangerous Products

  • Biological chemicals

  • Pesticides

  • Medical waste

  • Fire extinguishes

  • Ammo

  • Batteries made of lithium

  • Propane tanks

  • Aerosols


An overview of air freight’s advantages and disadvantages

Air freight is the fastest method of transportation, among ocean and ground transportation. The best benefit of this service is the quick delivery. Shipping by air is expensive, and shipments must comply with FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations. Fines and penalties can be imposed when federal or international laws are violated.

The Sea Freight Process: What Is It?


The sea freight method is used to ship large quantities of goods overseas by using a cargo ship or carrier. A container must be purchased before loading your materials or products onto a ship.

Another option is available if you do not need a full container. LCL (less than container load) containers are shared with another shipper. Dry bulk shipping and RORO (roll on/roll off) are other options.

You transport your shipment aboard and off a cargo ship by RORO vehicle. Instead of traveling in a container, dry bulk travels in the hole of a ship. There are many examples of natural resources, including grains and iron ore and coal.

Sea Freight Pros vs Cons

In comparison with other shipping methods, sea freight is more economical and environmentally friendly. For global shipping of goods and materials, this method is the best solution. Carbon-efficient, it is good for the environment.

The downside of sea freight is that it takes the longest to deliver heavy, large items. For smaller quantities of goods, it is not the most cost-effective option. For smaller amounts you can often find yourself paying more than shipping by air

Freight Management: Its Importance

In the early stages of your company’s development, hire a qualified freight management team. A manager and trained logisticians should be part of your team. In order to meet regulatory guidelines for air or sea freight shipping, your employees must receive continuous training.

Your shipment will reach its destination on time when it is managed by freight management. In order to negotiate prices with air carriers and sea freight providers, your manager needs to have negotiation skills. An international shipping team can reduce problems associated with logistics.

Freight management must focus not only on adhering to regulations, but also on cost efficiency and safe handling of goods. Sea freight providers use containers for protection while air carriers use rules for handling products. Make sure your cargo is properly packed to prevent damage.

Shippers’ Billing by Freight Carriers

What is the difference between air freight and sea freight? The cost of air, sea, or ground transportation is calculated based on the weight or size of your shipment. Additional charges are added to the shipper’s bill for warehouse storage at the carrier’s facility.

An overview of air freight costs

Carriers assess costs based on three factors: shipment type, destination, and delivery timeline. Cargo shipping costs are influenced by the size, weight, and special requirements. Freight expenses can be affected by your delivery location and whether you ship from an international or a local airport. Metrics are used by carriers to calculate the weight of their shipments based on the weight and size of their products.

The cost of sea freight

The weight of the shipment is not taken into account when shipping by sea. Containers, either FCL or LCL, are billed by ocean freight carriers. Flat rates are charged for full containers, while cubic meter billing is used for less than container loads. Warehouses are usually more expensive than airport warehouses for storing goods.

For transportation and storage, products must be secured in a metal bin with a lid. When fragile or luxury items are being transported, storage bins protect them. Hazardous materials, valuables, delicate items, and dangerous goods should be shipped in durable containers by the automotive, manufacturing, and retail industries. For additional security, use a lock.

Choosing the Best Option for You

If you are shipping heavier, larger products in large quantities, sea freight is the best option for you. If you need it urgently, consider air freight. Costs can be high, however.

There are a variety of factors to consider when selecting a shipping method. When choosing a shipping method, it’s important to consider the content and the destination. A warehouse storage facility is cheaper than sea freight, even though air freight is more expensive.

Various products are stored and shipped in industrial wire baskets, which are storage and carrying supplies. Expenses for shipping baskets, containers, storage, and transportation must be included in the freight calculation.

Managing your shipping department and performing ongoing analysis should be handled by an experienced employee at your company. If you move your products internationally and nationally, it may be beneficial to use both air freight and sea cargo. In determining which freight method is most suitable for your business, you should consider cost and delivery timeliness.

Regulations at the National and International Level: What You Need to Know

When it comes time to go through customs, shipping dangerous goods overseas can be challenging. Chemical and industrial industries are regulated by the FAA, IATA (International Air Transport Association), and DOT.

The law requires you to store packaged products in safe and secure containers or bins. If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be fined or your goods may be rejected for shipment by air or sea. Make sure the containers are secured with locks to avoid such situations.

Certain products are prohibited from entering a country under various laws. Make sure you are familiar with the shipping guidelines so that you can make the process as easy as possible. The requirements for packaging, labeling, and containers are complex. If you need help meeting significant governmental regulations, you may want to appoint someone in your organization. The FAA bans certain products from air shipments. Objects and liquids that are flammable or weapons cannot be shipped.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both air freight and sea freight. Consider things like high fuel costs when weighing your options. To reduce shipping costs, you must focus on cost efficiency.



Establish freight management and choose the proper shipping method using the information in this air freight versus sea freight guide. Shipping by air will ensure a speedy delivery. If you don’t need rush deliveries, choose sea cargo. As well as choosing the right freight method, you’ll also want to work with a reputable company to purchase your transporting and storage supplies.

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