Moving Freight around the world is a huge part of modern-day life and many businesses, small and large, need to decide how they will arrange this transport. However, you don’t want to miss anything when you plan your international shipping. You have valuable goods that you can’t afford to arrive missing or damaged – and you won’t have to, owing to modern infrastructure. You can ship anything and everything to any location on the earth using air freight or sea freight, but which method is better? We’ve got your back. We’ve included all of the benefits and drawbacks of the two below, depending on how they compare in terms of cost, safety, speed, and environmental impact.

Air, sea and road freight

Cost

Winner: Sea Freight

The winner has to go to ships. The World Bank says that air freight is 12-16 times costlier than sea freight — a significant difference when you’re already paying thousands of pounds.

You can also fit more on a container ship than you can on an aircraft, so you get more for your money.

These products may also be heavier than an aircraft would allow since the weight is restricted when shipping by air freight.

Unless you’re shipping fresh fruit across the globe, Dr Paolo Agnolucci, an associate professor at University College London (UCL), told MoveHub that sea freight is the most cost-effective alternative.

“I can understand how [sea freight] could not be practical in certain circumstances,” he remarked. “Strawberries only survive around ten days, so shipping them from Australia to England is pointless.”

Speed

Winner: Air Freight

Finally, air freight has triumphed. Many of you will not be surprised to find that aircraft are faster than ships, yet ships still win a good silver medal in this category.

Depending on where your shipment is headed, the difference between the two may be a few weeks – but is it worth paying thousands more for the added speed?

Airfreight is often employed by businesses that need to transfer perishable goods (such as fresh fruit or flowers) quickly or in emergency circumstances requiring medical supplies.

If you have a pressing need to send any valuable merchandise to your new location in a couple of days, air freight is the way to go.

Otherwise, it’s worth investigating how much money you may save by using sea freight. Only one caveat: it will take a bit longer.

Air and sea freight

Safety

Tied

In this domain, the two giants of international transportation are neck and neck. However, when it comes to safety, they’re both a smidgeon shy of perfection, with a combined score of 99.99 per cent.

Ships from 2014 to 2016 transported an average of £8.5 billion in goods per day throughout the globe, with 99.99 per cent of containers arriving safely.

According to Allianz research, this rate is also improving: the number of big ships lost globally reduced by a record 50% in 2018.

The only remaining concern is that your items may shift during shipment, which occurs only if they are improperly loaded. You won’t have any troubles if you hire a professional to pack your stock correctly and safely.

Using an aircraft to transport your belongings is just as safe as sending them out to sea.

According to the Flight Safety Foundation, 14 commercial flights approved for at least 14 passengers were involved in incidents in 2018. There were 555 deaths as a consequence of them.

Because of the enormous number of commercial flights globally, this implies that 99.99 per cent of them went off without a hitch – so don’t be concerned if safety is your primary priority. Both of these options are the closest you can come to a complete guarantee.

Environment

Winner: Sea Freight

By far, sea freight is the preferable alternative. However, according to research conducted by the UK government, an aircraft emits 44 times more CO2 than a ship while transporting the same cargo over the same distance.

“Sea freight is a lot better for the environment than air freight,” she remarked. “When operating aeroplanes, the pollution levels are substantially greater.”

Dr Warren, a professor at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, noted that aircraft have a more significant influence on climate change due to the way they operate.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has reduced CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. You can also fit more on a container ship than you can on an aircraft, so you get more for your money.

Ships will be permitted to have no more than 0.5 per cent sulphur in their fuel starting in January 2020, down from 3.5 per cent before. According to the United Nations, this change will have “potentially significant advantages for human health and the environment.”

According to Richard Bucknall, a professor of marine systems at UCL, the new legislation would result in “substantial environmental gain.”

“However, in most situations, it is conceivable — and it is unquestionably less expensive.”

Conclusion

There are many reasons why air freight is having its worst fall since the Great Recession of 2008: it costs thousands of dollars more and emits 44 times as much CO2. If you’re worried about your budget and the environment, sea freight is the most acceptable option.  Both are still hugely important to the world economy; however, deciding which is suitable for you is a decision only you can make. If you are interested in Air, Sea or even Road Freight, we have you covered here are MA Logistics. Contact our first-class team today for all your freight needs.