FACTORS TO CONSIDER: Air freight vs Sea freight
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FACTORS TO CONSIDER: Air freight vs Sea freight



This is one of the commonest question we get asked. Must I use airfreight or sea freight  to  transport my cargo? Whether you are a business that is moving to new location overseas or  returning resident from overseas or an expatriate  relocating, a decision will need to be made as to what means of transport you must use. The choice is not always obvious as there are 4 main factors to consider before making the decision of Airfreight vs Seafreight

   1. Cost

This is an obvious consideration. You do not need us to dwell too much on it. If you are a business, you consider cost and its bottom line and if you are an individual, you  to consider your budget. There is a generally  acceptable view that sea freight is cheaper than airfreight. This is not always the case. You need to understand the differences in how airfreight and sea freight cargo are  charged.
  Airfreight is generally charged by airliners based on what is called CHARGEABLE WEIGHT. This is calculated as a combination of cagro's weight (kg) and size expressed as height (cm) x width (cm) x length (cm) divided by 5000(5000 is a conversion factor used to convert volume to weight).  
  Seafreight is generally charged by shippers based on size of the container (20 or 40 foot)- sometimes called Full Container Load (FCL). However, if shipping  cargo that are less than a full container (LCL), weight and size then become afactors to consider. 
If shipping less than a container load, the cargo is charged per cubic meter (expressed as height (cm) x width (cm) x length (cm) The bigger and the heavier your cargo is, the cheaper it is per weight  measure to send by sea.As shipment gets smaller, the margins also become smaller, hence at times it becomes cheaper or almost the same to send smaller cargo by air than by sea. Consideration of destination charges, storage costs and documentation fees need to be considered when shipping by sea because at times it may be cheaper to send than actual cargo by sea, but when you factor in destination charges and other customs and excise costs, it will work out to be more expensive than airfreight.

The old adage that "Time is money" really applies when it comes to freight. The faster the delivery time, the more expensive it becomes. Airfreight is  generally suitable for time sensitive light weight goods. Unless your budget allows you, large items such as household effects and industrial heavy duty equipment is usually more economic to send by sea. Air freight generally takes a few days, while seafreight can take up to a month from departure country to destination country.

Any business or individual want a reliable service. However, you need to be aware that there  are factors beyound the air freight and seafreight services which may cause delays. Bad weather and natural disasters affect both airfreight and seafreight. It is a known fact that although airfreight suffers delays, there is a fast turn around of a day or two to correct schedule, whereas seafreight delays may run into days or even weeks. Any delay has cost implication and therefore when deciding which method t use, put cost implication into your decision.

Environmental Impact awareness is playing a major role in affecting how businesses and individuals make decisions about which means of transport they use. Generally when it comes to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, Airfreight contribute more than seafreight. Seafreight is considered environmentally more friendly than airfreight. So every business and individual have a duty of care about their contribution to CO2 emissions. Current trends show that individuals/ companies tend to favour to do business with companies that have considerations of impact of their business to the environment. This is still a voluntary choice in most countries but if you consider issues of oil spillage and damage to the ecosystem by seafreight, the choice may not be necessarily easy to make.

We will therefore leave you with a bit of information to consder before deciding which method to use.

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