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Pros and Cons of Air Freight Vs SEA Freight

Authored by Alfred Clark  |   16 June 2016 – The two most common methods and probably the only two, used for international shipping are air freight and sea freight. These are the choices you have when it comes to transporting goods, vehicles, and other cargo; be it for personal reasons or business. The difference between these two types of freight is not just the obvious one; one being by plane and the other via ship. There are a lot of factors that play a role in deciding whether to transport something via air or the ocean.

Both have their pros and cons, and there are four things that should be taken into account every time you decide to transport something around the world. These four things are the Cost, Charges, Capacity, Reliability and Speed at which your goods are transported to the desired location. Some other factors that should be considered are Safety, Time, Environmental Impact, Time, Destination Coverage and Logistics.

Here are the pros and cons of both air and ocean freight in details so that you can have detailed wisdom on both the next time you want to deliver something.

Cost And Charges

Between air and ocean freight, the former is a bit on the expensive side. The reason being that air freight is more safe and fast. Air shipping is considered the most expensive form of delivery and that is why their prices go through the roof. You must make sure that you don’t go over your budget using air merchandise. Many businesses use air freight and often make their customers pay the shipping fee. If you have a lot of money to spare and want something delivered fast, then air freight is a good option for you.

On the other hand, ocean freight is one of the cheapest ways to deliver goods worldwide. Many companies and businesses choose ocean freight over air freight simply because it is cheaper. And as it can hold huge volumes of goods, it is a good way to transport bigger things like cars, heavy machinery, etc. If time is not an issue, then ocean freight is the way to go.

Another difference between ocean and air freight is that goods are weighed by weight in air freight and by volume via ocean freight.


An airplane’s cargo space is considerably much smaller than a ship’s and therefore the number of goods that can be transported via air freight is significantly less than that by a cargo ship. One of the disadvantages of air freight is that even though it is a much faster and safer way to deliver goods, it is not possible to deliver goods in large quantities.

In contrast, cargo ships can hold massive amounts of goods that can vary from heavy machinery to cars and more. As they can hold huge numbers of large objects, they are much more preferred by businesses and companies for the delivery of their goods.

Environmental Impact

Convenience shouldn’t be the only thing to consider when it comes to delivery of products. You also have a responsibility towards the planet. If you have to choose between air and ocean freight in terms of its impact on the environment, it is suggested that you use ocean freight. Air freight produces a much higher amount of CO2 than ocean freight. But oil spills and other types of water pollution caused due to ocean freight is also something to acknowledge.


If you want something delivered fast, then air freight is just the thing for you. Not only is air freight much faster, but it is also much more reliable and safe. Air cargo is the best option if you want something on an urgent basis. However, air freight is much more expensive so make sure you have enough money to spare.

Contrarily, ships are slow and have a longer distance to cover by water to deliver goods. It can take up to a month to get goods delivered via ocean freight while it only takes 3 to 7 days for goods to be delivered by air.

Safety And Reliability

Air shipment is a much safer option when it comes to delivery of goods. it provides the least risk of damage, and your goods are handled and stored in the best way possible. On the other hand, ocean freight are less safe. There is always the chance of cargo ships being looted and there is always a chance of delay due to bad weather.

All these factors play a role in choosing which form of delivery to choose but it all depends on the situation. If you want something on urgent basis, air freight is the worth considering option, but if you want to save money, ocean freight is a better option. Your decision depends on your requirements. You can choose any option you want from local cargo services in the USA.

US Cargo Link has shipped thousands of goods across the world and works round the clock for all its customers. Check out our air and ocean freight prices USA and help us deliver your goods with speed, agility, and safety.

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