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Ocean freight vs. Air freight: Which is Really Better

With the help of globalization, the world is progressing at a more incredible speed. Globalization helps countries connect, resulting in increased trade and transportation of products across the globe. Goods of all sorts are to be delivered to almost every place on earth from landlocked countries to places on the other sides of oceans.

In case you want to Ship goods, there are two cost-effective services that you can make use of  

  1. Ocean freight   
  2. Air Freight  

There are some striking differences between the two related to the speed, cost, and impact on the environment: the two shipping methods and their differences discuss in detail below.  

What is Ocean Freight?

Shipping ocean freight is a complicated process; however, it is considered the most cost-effective one. Ocean freight defines the way of transporting goods through the sea trade routes. Through it, the transporters can easily transport goods in large quantities or bulk. 

As it carries many benefits, ocean freight is considered one of the most commonly used ways to transfer goods. Globally, almost 90% of exports and imports go through sea routes.

How does it work?

Transportation by sea cargo is a little complicated. Items packed into huge holders, i.e., 20STD or 40HC Containers—the cargo sent to the port and customs. 

After cleared from there, the shipment loaded on the Vessel by keeping a view its size compared to shipment size. 

After completing the journey, the goods passed through the customs authorities of the destined place. Usually, an agent manages the payment of taxes and duty upon it and gets the product released for delivery in that country.  


Safety is one of the most significant benefits of ocean shipping. The ship’s designs can support the movement of hazardous or dangerous items safely and securely. 

The vessels design to ensure safe transit of such goods; moreover, the designs are continually being worked upon to bring improvements to make it better than before.  

What is Air Freight?   

We can define air freight as the shipments sent from one place to another using air routes by an air carrier—this use of the medium usually defines when the delivery is made quickly. 

Airfreight uses the same routes, which are typically used by any passenger or commercial planes; that is why it is considered the best for expedited shipping. As it is the fastest way, it costs a lot for transporting goods.

How does it work?  

These days, there is a wide range of things transported as air cargo, running from letters, garments, edibles, vehicles, mechanical gear, animals, etc. By and large, there are three unique sorts of air cargo:  

  1. products on passenger carriers  
  2. products that shipped in dedicated cargo planes   
  3. products that ride in special air carriers known as supercargo planes.  

Moreover, drone delivery, which is new in air shipping, is also making its way into the market. Drones can deliver products with a reasonable amount of weight. 

Delivery Options:  

There are specific delivery options offered by air shipping:  

Domestic Delivery  

  1. Same-day air   
  2. Next-day air   
  3. Second-day air  
  4. Deferred air  

International Delivery Options  

  1. Deferred service   
  2. Express service  


The air freight companies keep a tight security check on the cargo. Since the security screens, air terminals, air transportation, and burglary’s dangerous, the threat are considerably decreasing. 

Reliable security joined with perhaps the most secure mode, implies safe deliveries to each client. Moreover, due to faster deliveries, mishandling the products and chances of other damages to the products reduced.  

What is the difference between Ocean Freight VS Air Freight?   

The main differences between ocean and air freight shipping discuss below. 


The cost distinction between ocean cargo and airship cargo relies upon the trade and the freight you transport. As the plane limit usually restricts by weight and the ocean cargo limit by volume, the distinction in cost for ocean cargo and airfreight is less for light freight than for heavy items. 

Air FreightOcean Freight

The cost to deliver by air is higher than the other transportation methods due to quick and efficient deliveries.  

Ocean freight offers excellent cost-effective ways for the transporters to ship their goods from one point to another. It provides very economical shipping. In contrast with other cargo rates, it is more moderate and incredibly more practical for bulkier payload.  

How is it calculated?
For airfreight, the chargeable weight typically determines the dimensional factor of 6,000 cubic centimeters for every kilogram.
How is it calculated?
For ocean cargo, the standard is 1,000 kilograms/cubic meter. So, in the above model, if you transport one cubic meter of payload with a load of 500 kilograms, you can expect airship cargo to be multiple times more costly than sea cargo.


Your cargo’s urgency is the principal factor to consider in deciding between airship cargo and sea cargo, as the crucial distinction between ocean cargo and airship cargo is speed.

Air FreightOcean Freight
Less Time
This is the fastest way of transportation, so less time is required and saves time.

More Time:
Ocean shipping takes a lot more time to transport the products than air carriers. 
How long does it take? 
Airship cargo commonly can take up to as long as ten days. This includes holding hours at air terminals, routing and waiting for the accessible airplanes, and the time of procedures at the place of origin and the destination.

How long does it take?  
Sea cargo relies upon  

services available  

The duration may range from seven days to 70 days.  


The pollution and carbon emission brought about by various kinds of transportation damage the environment far worse than our imagination. One of the benefits of ocean shipping is that the sea cargo spreads minimal contamination as the boats leave less carbon footprint than the planes. That is the fundamental motivation behind why big organizations generally pick sea cargo.  

Air FreightOcean Freight
More carbon footprint
The carbon footprint of air freight is huge as compared to ocean cargo.
Less carbon footprint
One of the benefits of ocean shipping is that the sea cargo spreads minimal contamination as the boats leave less carbon footprint than the planes. That is the fundamental motivation behind why big organizations generally pick sea cargo.

How much pollution does it cause?
Statistics record shows that 1,000 kilograms of airship cargo will depend on normal radiate 500 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) for each kilometer it flies on a cutting-edge freight plane (B747).
How much pollution does it cause?
In correlation, if the load transport via the ocean on a modern vessel, the emanation is decreased to 15 grams for each kilometer it sails.  

Advantages of Air Freight:  

Less Warehousing Necessities  

As the time for customs clearance at airship cargo is quick, air transporters, in general, have to keep up smaller inventories. The delivery made on more strict timetables, and there’s commonly less stock to empty than that for shiploads, so the requirement for neighborhood warehousing is a lot lower.  

Limit Readily Available Services:  

The fast-paced world has resulted in business flight’s recurrence, so the limit isn’t an issue. Regardless of whether a flight is missed, cargo can normally jump on a later flight that day and still show up on schedule. 

Lower Insurance Rates:

As the shipment is delivered relatively quickly, low insurance is required compared to ocean shipping.  


This mode of transportation has reliable timing with very few delays.  

Access to Anywhere in the World:  

Mostly the airship cargo forwarders have a broad organization of carriers. They are established in other countries as well as in the home ground too. So this solves the problem of difficult accessibility as customers can have the freight easily no matter what country in the world they belong to. 

qafila freight forwarding

Advantages of Ocean Shipping:  

Less Maintenance Cost:

The up-gradation cost of ocean freight is significantly less than the maintenance cost engaged with air and rail transport. one of the fundamental explanations is that sea cargo rates are affordable. 


Regardless of the size of the shipments, sometimes these cargo organizations oblige to the shippers’ necessities. Smaller shipments can gather with other shipments to fill a compartment. This makes the whole shipping process more efficient and cost-effective.  

Oversized, heavy, and bulky cargo shipping capability:

A significant benefit of ocean freight is the transportation of oversized goods, which is difficult or can’t be carried by air freight or land or rail transport. The transporting organizations’ can deal with larger than usual shipments.

Big and massive shipment things can be shipped effortlessly through sea cargo without bringing about tremendous expenses in transportation, as sea cargo rates are modest. Planes can’t send cumbersome things, for example, vehicle parts, hardware, mechanical parts, and so forth, and boats can convey a wide range of hefty items. 

In Conclusion   

Owing to the pros and cons, both the shipping methods offer excellent services and have their flaws. The choice depends on the needs and requirements of the customers. It has been observed that sea cargo is very much more affordable than air freight. Just like air freight is the quickest way possible, ocean freight is the cheapest way of transporting goods.   

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