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Air or Sea Freight -Which Transport Mode to Choose
When shipping freight internationally, it’s important to choose the appropriate mode of transportation to ensure your products arrive on time and at the right cost. Your decision to ship by land, sea, or air depends on a careful evaluation of business needs and a comparison of the benefits each method affords. Picking the best possible mode of transportation is critical to export success.
Shipping by Air
Shipping by air is the best option for time-sensitive exports. Other advantages include lower insurance, inexpensive warehousing and tighter inventory control. However, airfreight is more expensive than sea and is limited by the availability of major airports nearby the points of departure and arrival. The cost of air freight is largely determined by the weight of your cargo and how quickly you need it to arrive. Heavier, time-sensitive freight will be the most costly.
Some airfreight companies offer pick-up services depending on the size of your shipment, while others hold you responsible for transporting the cargo to the terminal. Air freight can accommodate heavy freight, and most companies do not impose size limits. It is advisable to insure your airfreight, especially if it is valuable – and airfreight usually is. Airfreight insurance rates are affordable and a great safety measure to ensure peace of mind.
Many modern airfreight companies give you the opportunity to track your goods using web based technology. This means you can follow the status of your cargo from departure to arrival and stay on top of necessary information.
Shipping by Sea
International exports are most often transported by sea. If you are moving a large shipment that does not require an especially fast delivery, sea transport is the most economical option. There are a large variety of specialized ships that can accommodate everything from bulk commodities to liquids, perishable items, and dry goods. The type of cargo ship used to transport your freight depends on the items you are shipping. Transit times can vary depending on specific port locations depending on nautical and weather conditions. Containerization is a shipping technique that now dominates most modes of transportation, and sea transport is no exception. Freight is first packaged securely and then loaded into shipping containers also called isotainers. These containers allow for a quick transition of freight between different vehicles in the intermodal transport chain. Ships, railroad cars, planes and trucks are now all designed to accommodate containers intact.
Choosing the best method
Each mode of freight transport has its own unique advantages. Choosing an appropriate method is heavily dependent on distance, the geographic location of your destination, the nature of your items, your budget, and any necessary deadlines or schedules that must be adhered to. Items that must be moved quickly should be shipped by air, while goods that aren’t needed in a hurry can be shipped inexpensively by sea. Most shipping routes often require the use of several different modes of transport. Finding the best way to coordinate this logistic chain can save your business a lot of time and money in the long run.