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Air Freight vs Sea Freight: What Service Should You Utilise

Business owners are constantly analysing the advantages and disadvantages of each form of freight transport in order to achieve cost-effective and fast shipping for each purchase. Before business professionals decide whether they will utilise air freight or sea freight services, they must examine aspects of both to determine which will be the best fit. Transit duration, product type (value, hazard level etc.), accessibility, cargo volume, and replenishment cycles. 

Operations and Logistics solution managers can choose between air freight and sea freight forwarding services based on a number of factors. This article will discuss each of those factors and weigh the benefits of each of them in regard to air freight or sea freight services. 


Most, if not all, firms strive to keep prices low in order to make their products more affordable. Sea freight is often regarded as the most cost-effective method of transporting goods internationally. However, sea freight prices can be impacted drastically by a variety of circumstances. 

If you have high-value products in small quantities, the frequency of your shipments is unpredictable, or the product’s availability necessitates a quick turnaround, international air freight is the best option. Alternatively, it’s more economical to ship goods by sea if you have a long lead time. It will work out to be much cheaper when sending heavier, bulky items via sea freight.


When it comes to quick, on-time delivery, air freight is unrivalled. The benefit is evident, with average lead times of two to seven days compared to at least a month for sea freight. Nowadays, almost every aeroplane, including passenger flights, transports industrial items. Given that there have never been as many planes in business as there are now, and that the number is continually growing, lead times may be maintained to a minimum.


I highlighted the punctuality of planes and a large number of departures every day, which is growing. The majority of items may be transported via air freight, whether it is carrying people or cargo. Furthermore, airline itineraries are published months or even a year in advance, allowing for both long-term and short-term planning. Also, if items don’t make it on one plane, the next one will be taking off shortly, ensuring minimal delays. While sea freight may take longer it is also extremely reliable, with vessels built to overcome extreme weather conditions.

Load Capacity

One advantage of sea freight is that it is much simpler to move large and bulky items than it is with air freight. Ships will always have more load capacity than aeroplanes and thus you will be able to transfer a larger volume of products via sea freight. This is especially useful for businesses shipping out bigger items like furniture and pianos.


Most research indicates that air freight uses significantly more greenhouse gasses over the same distances as sea freight. To many customers and businesses being sustainable and protecting the environment is a priority and sea freight is the logical option if you are going to prioritise environmental sustainability over freight time.

The main factors that differentiate air freight and sea freight are the prices, the time it takes for products to ship, the reliability of each service, load capacity differences and how eco-friendly each service is. Considering all of these factors and weighing up which ones mean the most to you will be the deciding factor in which freight service you utilise. For more information, or to book sea freight or air freight contact the team at Bullocks Freightmasters today!