Shipping by sea is well-known for being cheaper than shipping by air, which is why many automatically use it as their preferred method. However, there are numerous reasons why air freight shouldn’t be dismissed as an option – including the fact that it might actually work out cheaper than you think! Take a look at our seven reasons to send your next shipment by air.
1. It needs to arrive quickly
Air freight is obviously the quickest shipping method and can be much faster than sea or over-land shipping. For example, a shipment going between China and the UK can take just a couple of days by air, yet travelling by sea would mean a much longer journey of around a month. Therefore, if you’ve promised quick delivery to a customer, need to restock asap, or have ordered an item that’s essential for your trade or business, air freight is the most logical choice.
2. The shipment is small and light
While sending shipments by air is usually considerably more expensive than sending part-load shipments by sea (LCL – Less than container load) or over-land, there are exceptions. Due to differences in the way the cost of shipping is calculated, a small or light package may cost the same or even less to send by air than by sea. Or the margin may be small enough that the other benefits of air freight make it the most appealing and best value option overall.
3. The insurance premiums lower the total cost
Similarly, the insurance premiums for air freight are also likely to be lower than sending cargo by sea. This is due to it being a quicker, more reliable and more secure shipping method. Again, make sure that you add on all the ‘hidden extras’ when calculating the true total cost of shipping.
4. You need the most reliable shipping method
Not only is shipping by air speedy in terms of the actual travelling time, but it’s also helped by reliable departure times and regularly scheduled flights. A late or even a cancelled flight is unlikely to delay your shipment noticeably, as there’ll usually be another flight scheduled to leave shortly. This is often not the case with sea freight, and a delay could have a severe knock-on effect if the shipment has onward connections to meet.
5. You need the most secure shipping method
We’re all aware of the high levels of security associated with air travel – and the same is extended to shipping by air. Increased security means there’s a lower chance of items being lost, stolen or damaged in transit.
6. The destination is in-land or ‘off-grid’
The obvious restriction of shipping by sea is that large carrier ships can only access a country as far as its coastline – and this is restricted even further to usable ports. A shipment may then need to continue its journey via a different transportation method, which can extend the shipping time and increase the potential for delays or damage. If your shipping destination is in-land, or outside of the usual shipping network, air freight will usually get your shipment much closer, much quicker.
7. You want to reduce your packaging
Shipments sent by air may require less and lighter packaging than when shipped by sea. As well as being easier and more convenient, this can also reduce the cost of sending your shipment, including the actual cost of shipping and the labour and material costs involved in packing and unpacking.
An experienced freight forwarder such as John Good Shipping will be able to present you with all of the pros and cons of each shipping method so that you can make an informed decision based on total cost, reliability, security and speed.