The best way to transport freight-by air or sea?

The age-old dilemma-by plane or by boat However, we are not talking about holidays, but rather business and logistics. While there is a wide range of options in terms of freight transport, when it comes to international transport, this boils down to just two: sea and air. How do you know when it is more convenient to transport our freight by air or by sea? This type of decision cannot be made on a whim, given the factors involved, such as distance, cost, safety and last but not least, the type of freight to be transported.

Urgency and a high level of value: considerations when selecting air transport

Air transport stands out for its speed, the fastest way to arrive to any corner of the globe as well as to meet the most demanding deadlines. It also allows for ample geographical coverage, thanks to the huge network of airports which facilitates the entry into new markets. Even more, it provides greater security, with a lower claims ratio and risk of accidents. Lastly, it is highly versatile, thanks to the existence of aircraft adapted to the different types of freight to be transported.

However, it is considerably more limited in terms of load and volume, and above all, costs more to transport the same weight, which can throw off more than one calculation. On top of all of this, it also does not accept hazardous cargo.

  • Perishable products: The speed of the aircraft puts them head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to transporting products with a limited shelf life. We are talking about all types of organic products, such as fresh food or flowers. However, this category has certain exceptions. One example is bananas that, given how long they take to ripen, tend to be transported by sea.
  • Pharmaceutical products: Medical products are often very sensitive to temperature changes. This requires their temperature to be controlled and monitored as well as very tight time frames times in terms of their transport, something that air transport can provide a better guarantee of.
  • High- value products: Despite the safety involved in sea transport, air transport provides greater guarantees for the transport of high-value small products, such as precious stones, jewellery, etc.

Price and versatility: important considerations when choosing sea transport

Sea transport stands out for its affordable price as well as its ability to cater for a range of cargo types in the same ship. Freighters can handle anything, from solid, liquid, gaseous or in bulk and from large containers to small packages. This includes hazardous materials, which often cannot be transported by air. Variables such as volume or weight are also never a problem with this type of transport.

Its disadvantages include longer delivery time frames due to the longer time it takes to be transported as well as the fact that it is more difficult to control times due to circumstances such as port congestion. It also produces a higher amount of emissions and waste, although this is something that is changing with new laws and clean fuels. Furthermore, it is often necessary to have a second means of transport at the port up to its final destination.

  • Less sensitive medical products and cosmetics: Despite all of this, it is perfectly possible to transport a wide range of pharmaceutical and cosmetics products by boat in reefer (chilled) containers.
  • Fashion, electronics and household products: The preferred transport of major segment of everyday consumer products are by boat. Due to being non- perishable, they do not require urgent delivery and transport by boat is much cheaper.
  • Hazardous goods: Due to the fact that any dangerous goods simply cannot be transported by plane, they have to be transported by boat.

As we can see, both operations have many exceptions as well as the fact that prices fluctuate. Therefore, the most advisable thing to do is to contact an operator such as Bilogistik when it comes to selecting the best type of transport for your type of freight, whose professional team performs an evaluation of all aspects and recommends the transport that meets our exact needs , looking for the best prices for top-quality of shipment, while ensuring that our freight is safe at all times.

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