The factors for considering Air Freight vs. Ocean Freight

Whether you are a business that is going to be shipping overseas regularly or an individual that is moving to another country, deciding to use air freight or ocean freight is an important choice. There are three key factors you should consider when making this decision.


This is an obvious consideration. In almost any decision business or not, there is a cost involved. Naturally you are going to want to know which will cost you less, whether it be air or ocean freight. Shipping by air is usually more expensive than shipping ocean freight, but this is not always the case. The bigger and heavier your items are the more money they will cost to ship. With larger heavier shipments it is often much cheaper to ship by sea. As a shipment gets smaller, the margin in prices gets smaller as well and sometimes air will even end up less expensive.

Keep in mind that there are destination charges to consider. If you are shipping by air or sea there will be customs and destination fees. While the actual shipment of sea freight is usually cheaper than air freight, the warehouse fees at seaports are more expensive than those at airports.


When it comes to speed it’s pretty obvious that air freight is usually much faster than ocean freight. Time is money, so this factor could more than make up for the expensive cost of air shipments. For most business shipping faster is usually better but it depends on your business and the client. A lot of ocean shipments may take a month to arrive, but with faster ships, wider canals and newer technology, there are many ocean freight shipments crossing the oceans and being delivered in as few as 8 days.


Reliability is something we all look for in people, businesses, products, and services. So what is more reliable, air or ocean freight? With the technology we have today, both forms of shipment are relatively reliable, but I would say air freight wins the battle. This is mainly because of faster shipments. There are multiple flights everyday to and from every major city, so if for some reason your package misses its scheduled flight, it can get on the next flight even if it’s the next day. Ocean lines tend to have weekly schedules, so if for some reason your package misses its shipment it could have to wait another week for the next shipment. I would also say since ocean ships are so huge, there is more room for error to lose you package.

Considering these factors should help you make the best decision for your cargo shipment! Global Forwarding offers free quotes for all types of shipments. Click here for an estimate