Air, Train, or Ocean Freight?

Global shipping
air train ship

The Ladingo Team 

Which shipping method best suits your business’ cross-border needs? 

Sea freight. Air freight. Train freight. Three freight options. Each has its own merits, but which best suits your international shipping needs? 


When expanding your business globally, several factors will determine which is the cheapest, fastest, most efficient, or best overall shipping method. What are the differences between the various shipping methods, and which best suits your cross-border business’ needs? Read on to learn more. 

Air freight

Air freight is known to provide the fastest shipment option on the market and is ideally suited for businesses shipping smaller, lighter items of high value. The rapid speed at which airplanes travel and the high frequency of airplane departures and arrivals ensures that your shipment will make it to its target destination quickly and easily, even if a flight or two is delayed, canceled, or missed along the way. 


What’s more, the stringent security requirements and processes at airports across the globe help promote your shipment’s safe transfer from the seller’s factory to your warehouse. Air shipments are most efficiently tracked via flight number and departure time, are subject to less handling and are moved from location to location in a highly organized and orderly fashion. 


Furthermore, as air freight is swiftly moved from location to location, there is less of a need for freight forwarding companies to store shipments in warehouses, utilize heavy-duty packaging, or take out long-term, extensive insurance packages, saving all parties involved many a pretty penny. 

Train freight

Like air freight, rail or train freight is a quick and efficient way to ship items across geographical expanses (though slower than air). But there are some key differences. While air freight is great for shipping items between any two locations, including those separated by bodies of water, train freight can only be used to ship items between landlocked areas, unless it is used in conjunction with air or ocean freight forwarders as well. 


Conversely, train freight can and should be used as a more eco-friendly shipping option, as trains produce lower exhaust emissions than airplanes. For example, when shipping from China to destinations in Asia or Europe, CO2 emissions are nearly cut in half, simply by opting to ship by train rather than by truck or by air.     


Rail freight is able to ship larger volumes and larger volume orders. Additionally, as this method of transportation has lower capital costs due to the speed of fulfillment (faster than ocean freight) and the nature of the vessel itself (less technologically advanced than airplanes), shipping by train is highly cost-effective in the short and long-term. 

Ocean freight

Ocean freight is the ideal shipping method for buyers looking to ship large quantities of large and heavy items internationally (across oceans). The ocean freight forwarding industry is, by far, the most economical option, from financial and environmental points of view. It costs roughly four to six times less to ship via ocean than via air. Smaller shipments can be grouped together in a shared container (referred to as a less than container load, or LCL), and breakbulk or Not in Trailer (NIT) loads such as cars, construction materials, or other oversized and heavy items can be handled safely and securely. And ocean freight forwarders provide the most carbon-efficient mode of transportation, producing fewer grams of CO2 emissions per ton of transported cargo than any other shipment method on the market. 


Ships are also best outfitted to safely transport dangerous cargo, including flammables and toxins used by a wide variety of industries. Security measures are well placed to ensure staff, shipment, and sea safety, as well as full compliance with relevant regulations. These measures also help reduce loss and damage to the cargo, throughout the shipping process.


That being said, ocean freight is the slowest method of shipping – and the option with the most “surprise” or hidden costs. To ensure your business best benefits from this shipping option, it’s best to partner with a logistics solution provider that manages the entire logistics & related tasks, door-to-door, like Ladingo.

Ladingo takes the guesswork out of cross-border logistics

Ocean freight is the shipping method poised to take globally-minded businesses to the next level, and with Ladingo, these businesses can enjoy the most cost and time-effective way to ship cross-border, and the best shipment option for LCLs (and soon for FCLs as well!). As a fully digital tool for Exporters (the sellers) and Importers (the buyers), Ladingo manages the entire logistics experience & related tasks, door-to-door. Unlike other solutions out there, Ladingo calculates the fully landed rate including taxes and duties, and guarantees that the price will remain the same throughout the fulfillment process! You’ll never be surprised with charges upon arrival of the goods at your warehouse or front door, thanks to highly innovative technology. 


Let Ladingo do the heavy lifting and ship your goods, efficiently, affordably, and transparently. Contact us for more information.


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