Air Freight vs. Ocean Freight: What's the Difference?

February 02, 2018
Whether you run a business or need to ship a present, personal effects, or small merchandise to the other side of the world, deciding on the best way to transport your cargo shouldn't be taken for granted. Some people choose to send their goods with the first shipping service they find because they are in a hurry or they just don't know any better. This is a big mistake, as you could be spending an excessive amount of money without even knowing it.

Choosing the right international freight shipping company for the shipment you would like to make is all about strategy and learning about the advantages and disadvantages of every transport method. For example, if you want to ship a small product like a makeup box, ocean freight may not be the best option for you, as small packages are more like to get damaged or lost in transit. Meanwhile, air freight could ensure your package's safety, which will talk about in little bit. In short, making smart shipping decisions is all about getting to know your options.

There are many ways to transport cargo from one place to another, but for international freight shipping, there are just two options you can choose from: air freight and ocean freight. As we mentioned before, you must learn the pros and cons of both in order to know which one is best for you.

At CA CARGO INC, we want you to help you make the perfect decision when choosing an international freight shipping company, so you can have the best shipping experience. That is why we would like to show you some of the differences between air and ocean freight:

Air Freight

According to Cambridge Dictionary, air freight is defined as "goods that are carried by plane, or the system of carrying goods by plane." Air freight is the fastest way to ship international freight, and is frequently used for essential items like clothing and other smaller shipments.

Although speed is one of the greatest advantages of air freight, one downside of air freight is that it can be five times more expensive than ocean freight. Here are the pros and cons of international air freight:

  • Speed:
  • If you need to your package to arrive as soon as possible, air freight is the best choice. Why? Air freight is faster than ocean freight. It can take up to 10 days for shipments sent via air freight to reach their destination, considering holding times at airports, pit stops for gas, and routing.
  • Safety:
  • Compared to ocean freight, sending your cargo by air will ensure that it stays as safe as possible, as the plane won't make any long stops along the way. The fewer hands that your shipment goes through, the less likely your package will get damaged, right?

  • Cost:
  • Airlines charge by size and volume, which is called chargeable weight. If you want to send some big cargo, air freight will be way more expensive. Fuel costs, fees, and service demands all lead to higher prices for air freight.

  • Size limit:
  • When you send cargo via air freight, there is a possibility that you are going to have weight restrictions and limited space. If you have a big shipment, air freight may not be the best fit.
Ocean Freight Ocean or sea freight is "the transportation of goods in ships, or goods sent by sea," according to InvestorWords. For international freight shipping, this transportation method could be more suitable for big shipment, as there are more options for them. However, just like with air freight, there are pros and cons:


  • Cost:
  • Unlike air freight, the cost of ocean freight is considerably lower. If you have a small company and need to ship a package to another country, transporting the shipment via ocean freight can help you save money. Ocean carriers charge by container, rather than by volume. This means that the fewer containers you need to ship, the cheaper your shipment will be.
  • They ship heavy packages:
  • One of the greatest advantages of ocean freight is that you are able to ship larger and heavier cargo due to the size of the ship and the amount of weight a ship can handle. If you run an international car business, for example, you would be better off choosing sea freight as your mode of transport.
  • Environmentally friendly:
  • The environmental impact of air freight is greater than sea freight. If you are an eco-friendly person, you should take into consideration that ocean freight accounts for 3% of the planet's total greenhouse gas emissions, which is certainly more environmentally friendly than air freight.

  • Prolonged time:
  • As mentioned before, air freight takes up to ten days to arrive. Due to routes and other factors, ocean freight can take up to 40 days to arrive at its port of destination.
  • Safety:
  • Additionally, packages shipped via ocean freight are more likely to get damaged or lost, as ships make more stops than air freight.

What's Your Best Option for Shipping International Freight?

That depends on what you want to ship and how fast you need it to get there. After you determine what mode of transport your cargo is best suited for, you should pick the best international freight shipping company.

Fortunately, you've come to the right place. We are an international freight shipping company that offers air and ocean freight. Whether you have small or large shipments, we will successfully get the job done.


At CA CARGO INC, we are an international freight shipping company with 16 years of experience and staff who are specialized in transportation, repackaging, storage, and customs clearance. We provide door-to-door services to and from the U.S., South America, and Europe.

At CA CARGO INC, we deliver all types of merchandise, including, but not limited to vehicles, farm supplies, fragile marble slabs, and heat-sensitive medical supplies. We can the perfect for your business!

Why CA CARGO INC Is Your Best Option for Safe Air or Ocean Freight Shipping

At CA CARGO INC, we can do both! As we have 16 years of experience and an expert staff, we can ensure your packages' safety not only in air but in sea freight. Our air and sea shipping services, include customs clearance, storage, handling, transportation, and distribution. Besides, we deliver, handle, and store goods internationally, providing cost-effective logistics. If you want to know more about why our air and ocean freight services are the safest, click here!

If you are looking for an international freight shipping company that has the best air and ocean freight services, CA CARGO INC is your best option. For more information about our services or to request a quote, contact our specialists by filling out our contact form. Find us on Facebook as Ca Cargo Inc., and follow us on Twitter as @cacargoinc, and Instagram @cacargoinc. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have!