Air and Sea Transport

Air and Sea Transport: Which Mode of Freight Transport Is Best for Your Trade?

In any type of trade, especially international, the mode of transport is an important factor. This influences the shipping cost and the merchant’s profit margin to pay for the transport. Therefore, it is necessary for the buyer and the seller to decide in advance on the mode of transport and take into account an estimated cost for it in their trade contract. To ensure that you and your business partner choose the right mode of transport. It is important to consider the following factors. Air and sea transport are the main modes of transport in international trade, especially to and from India. So, we will only make a comparison between these two modes.
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Ludhiana Clearing Agency Freight

Air Custom Clearance Services

We are fully up-to-date with customs procedures and have excellent knowledge of how to handle shipments related to air customs clearance services.

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Sea Custom Clearance Services

Provides seamless services for sea customs clearance across international ports for export-import shipments.

Cost of Transportation

The cost is one of the major factors in choosing the mode of transport as it impacts the total shipping cost and trade profit. It is important to note that in addition to the actual freight charges, freight also includes:

  1. Freight insurance
  2. Handling charges (at various loading and unloading points)
  3. The cost of inland transportation (if applicable)

So, if we have to rely on this factor alone; sea shipping is the cheapest mode of transportation. Also, it will be the ideal choice. It is important to consider cost when choosing a mode of transportation. But it is not the only factor to consider. Other factors also need to be looked at to choose the best mode of transportation for the goods that need to be transported.

Cost of Goods

The cost of the transported goods is also a decisive factor when choosing the mode of transport. If the goods transported are low-value goods, it is better to opt for sea transport as it is the cheapest mode of transport.

Type of Goods

The weight and size of the cargo are also important to consider when choosing the type of transport. If you are dealing with heavy machinery, bulk, dry bulk, spare parts, marbles and stones, and other heavy materials, it is better to go for sea shipping. Air shipping is safer if you are trading small but valuable and lightweight materials like gemstones and jewelry, medicines, other medical products, and emergency supplies.

Nature of Goods

When choosing the mode of transport, it is necessary to consider the nature of the goods – time-sensitive, perishable or non-perishable, dangerous or non-dangerous, and the transport rules concerning these products in the trading countries.

Importer's Requisitions

As mentioned above, the mode of transport, especially for goods eligible for both modes of transport, must be decided in agreement with the importer to guarantee the smooth running of the exchange.


Some goods cannot be transported by air. But, for goods that can be transported by either means of transport, the urgency of the need is another factor that comes into play when choosing the mode of transport. If the need is urgent, air shipping is a better choice, and if there is enough time, sea shipping would be a better option. Sometimes, especially with bulk orders, exporters may also consider splitting the cargo – they may send a certain amount by air to ensure the immediate need is met and the rest by sea.

In Conclusion

Sometimes, the cargo you are trading falls into more than one of the above categories. For example, the cargo may be perishable and bulky. Or it can be non-perishable but time-sensitive. In such cases, in choosing the mode of transport, it is always better to take into account the factor which could affect the marketability of the cargo or the negligence which could violate any term or requirement of the contract due to which the importer can cancel the contract or refuse to take delivery of the goods. To further guide you in choosing the right mode of transport, here is a brief overview of the two modes of transport.
If in doubt, consult your service providers for feasible options! Or contact us by call : +91-9311595648 or email: with our experienced team and access transparent and competitive spot rates for ocean freight or speak to our customer service team to get the best possible solution for your shipment.