The Differences Between International Ocean Shipping and International Air Freight
Compared to international ocean shipping, international air shipping is faster in terms of time and can be booked daily, but the relative shipping costs are higher. Ocean shipping, on the other hand, has lower shipping costs but longer cycles. If you are shipping bulky and heavy items, you should choose ocean shipping.
Understanding international ocean shipping and international air freight services
International ocean shipping is the main transportation method in international trade, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total transportation volume in international trade. Most of China's imports and exports are transported by ocean freight. With its efficiency of speed, safety, and punctuality, international air freight services have gained a considerable market share, greatly reducing delivery times and featuring fast and agile transportation. They are an indispensable way of transporting valuable goods, fresh goods, and precision equipment in international trade.
What is the difference between international ocean shipping and international air freight services?
Price: Ocean Shipping: The transportation cost of ocean shipping is about 1/25 to 1/20 of rail transportation and 1/100 of road transportation. Air Shipping: Usually, the chargeable weight is 45KG. For cargo less than 45KG, it will be calculated based on 45KG. Some airlines may have an N price for cargo less than 45KG, which means that they can bill according to the actual weight. Express Delivery: The chargeable weight for packages is 0.5KG. For cargo less than 0.5KG, it will be calculated based on 0.5KG. It is recommended to choose express delivery for cargo less than 30KG, which is cost-effective. Express delivery is usually more expensive than air freight for cargo over 45KG. Generally, the unit price of express delivery for cargo over 45KG is twice as high as air freight.
Customs clearance lead time: The same international ocean shipping takes longer for customs clearance than air shipping. Ocean shipping typically takes 2 to 4 days, such as sailing on Friday and clearing customs on Wednesday. Air shipping takes only 0.5 to 3 days, such as flying on Friday and clearing customs on Thursday.
Can the cargo be split into batches for warehousing? International ocean shipping can be split into batches for warehousing, while air shipping generally cannot be split into batches for warehousing, such as at Beijing airport.
Inspection: Ocean shipping sometimes requires container stuffing/de-stuffing, which is time-consuming and costly. There may be inspection fees, as well as loading/unloading fees and trucking fees. When air shipping the goods, inspection is carried out at the time of delivery, using the "inspection before warehousing" principle, which is fast and generally does not involve inspection fees.
Customs inspection: International ocean shipping requires container stuffing/de-stuffing, which is time-consuming and costly, and may result in inspection fees as well as loading/unloading fees and trucking fees. If there is no stuffing/de-stuffing, inspection fees are generally not charged.
Transport documents: Ocean shipping bills of lading: the information must be checked with the customer to determine if it is an original or an electronic copy. International air shipping service bills of shipping: not as strict as ocean shipping bills, but it's best to confirm with the customer. For transactions completed by "letter of credit," special attention should be paid to bill of lading verification.