The Differences Between Sea and Air Freight

To determine the differences between sea freight and air freight, it is important to first understand how freight forwarding works.

How Freight Forwarding Began

Back in the day when international trade did not need a lot of requirements, products were transported by a shipper to the place of destination. Nowadays, with the standards of global trading, taxes, changing fuel prices, and other economic factors, negotiating with a shipping company directly is considered impractical.

Containers used for shipping can cost a small-time or medium-sized company a lot, which is why a third-party broker called a freight forwarder is hired to do the negotiation and make sure that the goods reach their intended destination in good condition.

The freight forwarding services in Singapore may have started as a shipping company, but the demand for a more sophisticated coordination between local freight, international freight, and transportation services played a role in the creation of a broker specializing in negotiations with different parties involved in freight forwarding.

Logistics services is not simply placing your items in a warehouse where a truck is expected to pick it up and deliver it to its destination. International freight in Singapore, whether for export or import, is much more complicated than that. The cargo may be transferred from one type of transportation through freightmaster in Singapore to another and back again before it will reach its destination. It is up to the logistics company to keep track of its progress and to make sure that it gets to the recipient in the fastest and least expensive route and methods possible.

Roles of a Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarding services company in Singapore therefore has the following roles:

    • Store cargo in warehouses
    • Arrange the distribution of the cargo based on the instructions of the customer
    • Negotiate the freight rates with a shipping company
    • Help the client prepare all the documents, permits, and licenses needed to ship the cargo
    • Assist the client in completing the Customs clearance

Because they will act as your company’s representative when dealing with any logistics company, they specialize in importation, exportation, maritime and aviation licensing, Customs specialization, accounting and legal needs, and bills and payment experts.

Hiring a freight forwarder therefore will give you an advantage over other businesses and will let you save money for shipment of goods. The following are the other benefits of freight forwarding services:

    • Versatility and the ability to handle different situations like delays
    • Organization and manageability or the ability to trace the location of the shipment and determine problems in the transportation
    • No need to tie your company down to one contract if there is a better alternative when it comes to logistics services
    • Save money by utilizing the freight forwarder’s expertise in the distribution of goods
    • Save time and effort by dealing only with the freight forwarder instead of negotiating with different parties yourself
    • International freight is easy because the logistics company can help you choose the right size for your container
    • International freight is manageable because the freight forwarder will be able to look for alternate routes at competitive shipping rates
    • The logistics services will help you comply with the requirements for international freight

Freight Forwarding Process

Before we discuss the differences between air freight and sea freight, you also need to know the process that your cargo will go through in international freight.

The process is as follows:

    1. Haulage of the cargo from the origin
    2. Handling of cargo from the origin
    3. Customs clearance for exportation
    4. Sea freight or air freight
    5. Customs clearance for importation
    6. Handling of the cargo to its destination
    7. Haulage of cargo to its destination

What is Air Freight?

Air freight is the transfer of goods via a commercial or charter air carrier. This type of transportation offers companies possibilities in shipping cargo anywhere in the world, especially if the transaction needs to be completed within a limited period or if the cargo is time-sensitive. It’s the fastest way to get the cargo to its destination and is also the most reliable even with weather delays.

Another advantage of air freight is that it offers opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses in Singapore to participate in international trade, because it has a high level of security and control over cargo. It is often used in combination with other logistics services such as sea freight, rail, and trucking even when it’s for local freight.

However, air freight is the most expensive mode of transportation, although there are three options when it comes for air freight, such as; next flight out, consolidated shipping, and deferred shipment.

Despite the expenses, hiring a freight forwarder will make the shipment of goods easier because they can assist you in Customs clearance and other documentation.

What is Sea Freight?

Sea freight, also called ocean freight, is the transportation of cargo into sea container via terminals and seaports. It is also used in combination with other transportation modes such as air freight, rail, and trucking.

However, sea freight will cost less than air freight because the price is based on the cubic meter used. Sea freight services is usually based on the cargo type to make sure that the goods and intact and in good condition when they arrive at their destination. These are containerised, bulk, RORO, chartering, and oversized.

Containerised means that the cargo is packed in a container ship to avoid rehandling the goods, ideal for perishable or sensitive cargo and is also the cheapest form of sea freight. Bulk on the other hand is the storage of unpacked goods in the hull of a ship, while RORO, or roll-on/roll-off, is the transportation of wheeled vehicles that contain cargo on a sea vessel designed for such a task. Chartering is recommended if you want to hire a vessel and crew for specific destinations, while oversized sea freight is the transportation of goods that exceed the standard dimensions.

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