Delivery time lines, product type, required security, sensitivity level, shelf life, volumes and shipping cost all influence the decision of which shipping mode to use and play a vital role in deciding the best transportation mode. Sea freight services are the most economical mode of international transportation available when compared to air freight and provide the most flexibility as businesses have almost unlimited freedom to ship their goods irrespective of volume, weight, dimension and product type. These advantages make sea freight services the most commonly used transportation medium.

However, there are circumstances where businesses should avoid using sea freight services and choose a different transportation medium such as air freight. Choosing the incorrect transportation mode can result in damaged or lost shipments, delayed delivery and lost sales. By choosing the best transportation mode for each individual shipment, you are one-step closer to perfect order fulfilment and improved sales.
Shipping expensive products

Product safety is a major concern when shipping from one place to another. This concern is more serious when shipping highly valuable or expensive products. In terms of reliability, sea freight services are considered less reliable than airfreight services. Due to a limited sea network, many times products go through various modes (sea, surface and rail) when using sea freight services.

Additionally, when using sea freight, the traceability of a product is limited throughout its shipping cycle. Shipping through sea freight is economical, but when shipping high value or expensive goods, it can be a wise decision spend a bit more to use a more reliable transportation services such as airfreight services.
Shipping with short delivery schedules

Sea freight is the slowest transportation medium when compared to airfreight. It can take weeks to months to deliver the cargo to its destination. Slow customs clearance , container packing and unpacking, limited vessel schedules, blank sailings, multimode transportation and uncertain weather conditions are other factors that add time to sea freight services.

These all negatively affect delivery timelines and bring uncertainty. To meet prompt demand and boost sales, it is important to deliver cargo within the committed schedule. Whenever businesses need to deliver cargo within a tight period, they should avoid sea freight services and consider other transportation modes such as air freight.
Shipping products with short shelf life

Products with a short shelf life require fast transportation services to ensure they are delivered within the stipulated lead times. Using sea freight services to transport these products can make them unserviceable, as in some cases, much of the products life cycle will be spent in transportation. Seasonal, FMCG and technical products with high obsolescence probability are all negatively impacted by a long transit time. Therefore, whenever shipping products with a short shelf life, airfreight is a better choice over sea freight services.
Shipping sensitive cargo

When shipping sensitive cargo, the least handling the better. Sea freight has a limited network and can face multiple handlings, especially if multiple modes are used. When using sea freight services, many times cargo is packed/unpacked and loaded/unloaded multiple times, especially if sending less than a container load (LCL).

The more times freight is handled, the more likely it is to be damaged. Additionally, a sea freight journey is less stable compared to an air freight journey and often the container ship will face bad weather conditions and high tides which can cause huge jerks, and these have the potential to damage cargo. Therefore, avoiding sea freight services to transport sensitive cargo reduces the possibility of damages.

Choosing the appropriate transportation mode requires thought and expertise. In addition to cost and transit time, there are additional factors that can influence the decision. Sea freight is the most commonly used transportation mode and

delivers advantages that include lower cost, easier to load and the longest documentation time.

These advantages do have a downside with respect to certain cargo types and there are certainly circumstances where airfreight is the better option. Collaborating with a knowledgeable freight forwarder in Australia such as BCR provides you with on-tap expertise, which can assist you to choose the most appropriate transportation mode for your product so that you can meet the demand with adequate profitability and customer satisfaction level.

For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including Brisbane, Sydney, MelbourneFree Articles, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).