Quick Shipping Guide: Top 3 Factors To Consider For Ocean Freight vs Air Freight

6 June 2019 | Freight Forwarding

Are you planning a shipment from the UK? What’s your best option? Shipping by sea or air freight?

Whatever the type of cargo you have in mind, the choice of transportation is the most crucial decision you have to make.

A report by the Department for Transport says around 95% of UK imports and exports are transported by sea. Air freight is also a popular transportation mode for businesses in the UK. In 2017 airfreight services contributed £7.2 billion to the UK economy.

If you are in business, the choice of transport can make or break your business. In a globalised world of commerce, almost half of UK small businesses fail to sell abroad due to high shipping costs. It is thus important to make the right decision on whether to ship by sea or air.

The UK remains a popular international business destination despite recent political and economic concerns. Both ocean freight and air freight numbers are growing. It’s possible to find a reliable and affordable logistics company to handle all your shipping needs.

There’s no denying the crucial role of transportation in the supply chain logistics. Read on for tips to choose between air and sea freight.

What to Consider When Choosing Between Shipping by Sea or Air

Whether for business or other reasons, the transportation you choose affects how everything turns out. In business, transportation is crucial in supply chain logistics, and there’s no room for error.

Some of the factors to help you choose between the sea and air freight shipping include:

1. Cost of Shipping

If you’re in business, transportation takes up a large part of your expenses. You’ve to choose the most affordable freight option to increase your bottom-line. If you’re an individual shipping an item, you’ve to consider your budget too. It all comes down to which shipping option will cost you less.

To find the cheaper freight option, you need to understand how air and sea freight fees work. Airlines use chargeable weight calculated from a combination of the weight and size of a shipment. Sea carriers, on the other hand, use per container rates for shipping in standard containers.

For larger and heavier shipments, sea freight is cheaper. As the size and weight of a shipment get smaller, air freight becomes the cheaper option. However, you should also consider destination fees, including customs fees.

On paper, using an ocean carrier is the cheapest freight shipping. However, you have to consider that warehousing fees at seaports are higher than at airports. As a business owner, you’ve to consider all these factors and choose the cheaper shipping option.

Comparing the actual cost of shipping is not easy. However, there are shipping professionals to help you find the best rates. Working with an experienced logistics company when shipping makes it easier to choose the right freight option.

2. Freight Speed Considerations

When choosing a shipping option in the UK, speed should top your list of considerations. Shipping by air is faster than by sea. If you want speedy delivery of your cargo, air freight is the obvious shipping choice – if at all the cargo is not bulky. Sea shipments take a few weeks or a month to arrive.

For a business, time is money, and slow shipping is not an option. If your consignment is urgent, air freight is the best option. For instance, an online retailer who wants to deliver an item has to consider time.

There are more efficient shipping routes today, but your shipment will still take more than a week. Shipping by sea is ideal if you have a large consignment which is not urgent.

Your shipping agent will advise you on the freight speeds. These shipping experts understand the industry and will find a suitable shipping option for you.

3. Reliability

When choosing the best means for shipping goods, you have to consider how reliable your choice is. According to a report on BM Magazine, businesses lose at least £5,300 in the lifetime value of a customer due to delivery problems.

In the same report, E-commerce Nation found that 37% of online shoppers never use the same online retailer again due to delivery problems. When choosing between air and sea transport, you have to consider these factors.

While Air freight shipping has a shorter history, compared to sea freight, it is more reliable of the two. Airlines work like clockwork unless there are weather disruptions. This means the delivery of your shipments will be on time. For a business, this translates to better customer satisfaction.

Ocean carriers are prone to delays. The weather at sea is sometimes precarious and can cause long delays. Missing the cut off at a seaport means more delays for your sea shipment. For a business, reliability in the supply chain is key to success. If you want a reliable shipping option, air freight is the way to go.

Final Thoughts

Shipping internationally is a complex undertaking. Whether this is the first time or you have shipped previously, you have to consider these factors.

As a business owner, you want the most affordable shipment option to increase your bottom-line. However, you also have to consider the speed and reliability of the freight option you choose.

Is shipping by sea or air best for you? This is not an easy question to answer. Working with an experienced shipping company in the UK will help you make the right choice.

At LTS, we offer global logistics solutions for both air and sea transportation. We have tailored our logistics solutions to meet individual customer needs. If you can’t decide whether to choose air or sea freight shipping, we are glad to help.

Our certified freight forwarders work closely with you to identify the best shipping solutions. We don’t have a one-fits-all shipping package. Instead, we listen to your shipping needs and design the best logistics plan to suit you.

Our mission is to take the burden of supply chain logistics off your hands. We want you to focus on the core business as we handle the shipping part.

Talk to one of our freight forwarders today for help with all your shipping needs in the UK.


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