Which freight service is right for you?
When choosing an international freight forwarding and courier company it can be difficult to know which freight management service is the right one for you. There are two key forms of freight transport that can be used to ship your orders to overseas customers, Air Freight Logistics and/or Sea Freight Services.
In order to choose the best international courier services for you there are several things to consider:
- What it is you are exporting.
- The size and weight of the goods being shipped.
- The country they are being shipped to.
- How quickly do you need it shipped.
All these considerations will have an impact on the shipping rates. So that you can make the right choice for your business we have outlined the main differences between air courier and sea freight services below and explain where and when it would be best to use each freight forwarding method.
Air Freight Services
Air freight is the sending of goods via plane. This is usually the preferred method of sending goods if you need to meet a shorter, faster delivery date. It is a great way to send small and expensive goods quickly and efficiently. Because of the speed associated with international air freight logistics services, it is usually a much more expensive option and would therefore be reserved for expensive, delicate goods such as jewellery.
The Benefits of International Air Freight:
- Fast and Reliable
- Ability to send to practically anywhere in the world
- Higher security and safer option for transporting more expensive small goods
- Greater ability to track goods
Sea Freight Services
Ocean or sea freight is the sending of goods via cargo ship or specialist transport companies. This method of shipping would typically be used by companies who wish to send bulkier, heavier items or larger volumes of goods. This type of freight forwarding has a notably longer delivery period but this means it is a lot cheaper and therefore more affordable for many companies. It usually involves the goods being stored in large shipping containers or, depending on the volume of goods being sent can be entire containers worth.
It can also be a more timely option due to goods having to pass through customs on their way out of a country and then again on their way in and can be subject to hold ups and delays. Once duties and taxes are paid for the goods can then be released for the next leg of the journey to their destination.
Which are the right freight transport services for you?
If you are trading and shipping internationally, the best freight management services for you will depend on a number of factors.
Though air courier companies are more efficient and certainly faster than sea freight services providers, they are also the most expensive. You therefore need to examine the amount of goods you plan to ship, what it consists of as shipping rates are calculated according to size, weight and type of goods. For many small to medium sized businesses, a sea freight services provider will be the preferred choice, financially speaking.
Of course if your delivery is time sensitive, then it is preferable to use air freight services being that they are faster and more efficient than shipping by sea freight. In comparison goods can potentially arrive at their destination country within 48 hours using air courier companies, whereas it can take several weeks through sea freight providers.
Often customers are happy to pay elevated shipping fees if it means they gets their goods sooner and communication is key when it comes to laying out the reason for higher postage and packaging fees.
Air freight services are also considered much more reliable as there are usually fewer delays and complications. Sea freight services can encounter customs delays and of course the weather can wreak havoc on delivery times.
Finally as more businesses look to reduce their carbon footprint it could be an important aspect to consider when weighing up shipping by international air courier companies or sea freight services providers. Certainly more customers are looking to support businesses with an eco plan or with greener values.
Both types of international freight forwarder services will of course make an impact on the environment, however sea freight services may have lower CO2 emissions than air but there is still an association with oil spills and the impact that shipping can have on marine life. Still it is a consideration as part of a wider plan to reduce emissions and go greener.
If you are still unsure, here at Xpediator we offer unique expert advice as a specialist international freight forwarding and courier company. We can help you decide which option would be best for your business. Get in touch to discuss your options further.