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Air or Sea? The Typical Choice for the International Business

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Air or Sea

If you’ve recently taken over the logistics management for a company that dabbles in international sales, or if your business has just ventured abroad, you’ve most likely hit the unfamiliar territory of how to ship your products to other countries. There are two methods in which most companies adopt for this, with some opting for air freight while others will look to transport their containers via the sea.

It goes without saying that both hold their respective advantages and disadvantages, although many people seem to have several preconceptions about the various pros and cons associated with them. For example, it’s generally assumed that air transport should only be reserved for a small percentage of shipments, with the costs much, much higher than sea freight. However, not all of these myths are completely true and by reading the rest of this post, you might change your mind in which option your business should take.

Which option is cheaper?

Considering the fact that most people will base their decision on cost, we thought we’d get this issue out of the way first. If you look at the situation from a black and white perspective, ocean freight seems to be the much cheaper option – even if it does arrive with disadvantages which we’ll discuss later on.

However, there are some cases in which it might actually be cheaper for you to opt for the plane. This is because the way in which both of these approaches calculate the fees is much different. For example, in relation to air freight, your fee will be calculated by something called the chargeable weight – which takes the weight and size of the shipment into account. Sea freight companies on the other hand have a much simpler method and will just offer pre-set container sizes that are usually quite large. Therefore, if you are only shipping a small quantity of goods that are light in weight, it is probably going to cost you much less via the chargeable weight calculation. Of course, you will have to have small shipments, but our point is that the differences in cost between the two don’t have to be that significant.

On the subject of cost, you should also consider the additional fees that many shipping companies don’t tell you about. For example, when it comes to security, many will require you to bring your own devices to protect your products. Loksys are one of the preferred options, and you can find out more information about their services by visiting their website.

Which one will get my products from A-Z in the fastest time?

While the above factor can be debated, there’s no such issue when it comes to the speed of delivery. Air freight is by and far and away the quickest method of shipping and if you are looking to get your products delivered as quickly as possible, this simply has to be the option you choose. While the times vary between countries, you should expect to legislate for a couple of days.

In relation to sea transport, the times can vary enormously and it can take weeks for some items to be delivered. Admittedly, the times are much shorter than what they once were due to canal routes, but only opt for this method if the delivery date is flexible.

Which one is regarded as being the ‘safe’ option?

In terms of reliability, again you could say that air freight comes up trumps. While it is a much newer method of transportation, the fact that planes are not as susceptible to poor weather conditions means that the chances of delays occurring is reduced. Unfortunately, few ships stick to their schedule and you should be prepared to legislate for your goods to be delivered a couple of days late on all occasions – to guard against unsatisfied customers.

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