Air Vs. Ocean Freight: Shipping Options For Contract Manufacturing With Global Logistics

Key Contract Manufacturing Service

One of the most important factors in soliciting a contract manufacturing job is global logistics. Where will your goods be stored and how will they be shipped to their destination? The two most widely used international shipping methods are air freight and ocean freight. Both ultimately get your completed injection molding job to its destination, but there are different benefits and drawbacks to using air freight verses ocean freight. Here are some benefits and drawbacks to consider when you’re deciding your global logistics method.

1. How Much Will It Cost?

Naturally, as a business, you have a budget to consider when it comes to contract manufacturing and global logistics, and ultimately you’d like to know which method of shipping will cost you less. Typically, ocean freight costs less than air freight, but there are some other facets and hidden costs to consider.

To understand which actually costs less in the long run, it’s helpful to understand how both methods charge for international shipping. If you ship via air freight, you will be billed for a “chargeable weight”. Chargeable weight is determined by combining the weight and size of the shipment. Freighter ships usually charge per container, and rates are based upon 20′ and 40′ standard container sizes. Weight is sometimes a factor, but overall ocean freight most often charges based on size. If you ship anything less than a container load, your price may be calculated by cubic meter.

So, with large, heavy shipments, it’s generally cheaper to ship by ocean freight. But although the actual shipping costs may be cheaper, warehousing fees at seaports are usually more expensive than warehousing fees at airports. So, if you are shipping smaller, lighter parts, you may find that the overall price of air freight is less expensive than ocean freight in the long run. And remember to always consider destination fees and customs. Regardless of whether you ship via ocean freight or air freight, you will incur destination charges.

2. How Quickly Will It Arrive?

Sometimes companies are faced with a situation where speed is more essential than cost. In these cases, air freight is much faster and more efficient than ocean freight. Depending on scheduling and weather factors, air freight can take a day or two to ship, whereas ocean freight can cake up to a month to arrive; with faster, more efficient ships taking as few as 7 days. Despite technological advances in freighter ships, ocean freight may never rival the speed of air freight. However, there is one factor to consider, and that is weather. Most often planes will not fly in inclement weather, and although freighter ships can be affected by inclement weather too, they are definitely less likely to be delays. In prolonged inclement weather, such as a snow storm, a fast and efficient ship may get your merchandise to its destination faster.

3. How Reliable Is It?

How does air freight compare to ocean freight in reliability? That’s difficult to tell, because ocean freight has a much longer and storied history than air freight, but there are some important factors to consider. As we mentioned in the last paragraph, air freight is subject to weather related delays, but unless the inclement weather is prolonged, flights resume and recoup quickly thanks to efficient management.

Ocean freight may not be affected as severely by the weather, but they are subject to delays. They might have to slow down, due to rough water. And ocean freighters have weekly schedules, not daily schedules like airplanes. If you miss a cutoff at a seaport, it could mean a delay of a few days or even week long delays. A few days usually won’t hurt, but a few weeks could be very costly.

Trust The Baytech Advantage For Your Global Logistics Needs

The Baytech advantage offers custom service from mold design, tooling, contract manufacturing to global logistics. Baytech Plastics can walk you through your entire process of your injection-molding project, from start to finish. Call or email for more information.