In life and business, there are always choices to make. When it comes to international shipping, there are many choices. Of all these choices, the most basic is the decision of what kind of transport to use: air freight or ocean freight. Whether you’re a business that will be shipping overseas all the time or an individual moving to a new country, deciding whether to go with ocean freight or air freight is an important choice. There are four key factors you should consider when making this decision.
You probably don’t have to be told to consider the costs before an undertaking. As a business person, you consider the bottom line and as an individual, you have a budget. Naturally, you’re going to want to know which will cost you less, air freight or ocean freight. Typically, you will hear that shipping by ocean is cheaper than shipping by air. And typically, this is true; however, this is not necessarily the case.
To make the best decision, it helps to be educated about how carriers charge for international shipping. Airlines bill you by what is called a chargeable weight. Chargeable weight is calculated from a combination of the weight and size of a shipment. Sea carriers charge per container rates for shipping in standard containers (20’ and 40’ being the most common sizes). While weight can factor into the price from sea carriers, their charge tends to be based more on the size of a shipment. If you are shipping less than a container load, your price is often determined by cubic meter. With larger and heavier shipments, it is often much cheaper to ship by sea. As a shipment gets smaller, the margin between the prices gets smaller and sometimes air will even end up less expensive.
Shippers should note that there are destination charges to consider. Whether shipping by air or by sea, there will be customs and destination fees. While the actual shipment cost of sea freight is usually cheaper than the shipment cost of air freight, the warehousing fees at seaports are many times more expensive than those at airports.