Air and ocean cargo make up a significant portion of the global marketplace. Before the advent of air travel, commercial goods traveled by sea to reach their destination. While sea freight shipping is still frequently used for the transport of goods, air transportation has become a more popular and efficient means for delivering and receiving consumer products and other valuable cargo. The global aviation industry transported over $6 trillion of cargo in 2012. The air cargo industry in particular is estimated to represent 30% of worldwide shipment value.
So air freight shipping is clearly overshadowing sea freight shipping. The reasons for this development are fairly obvious: air transportation is faster, it results in less damage to the goods being transported, and it is generally cheaper than transportation by sea.
The amount of time it takes to transport a product from one location to another is a key factor in the global economy. The faster goods travel, the more goods can be transported, which drives prices down and increases profits. Travel time becomes even more important when the goods are perishable, such as fruits, vegetables, and other fresh food products. A major advantage air transport has over sea freight shipping is that it is inherently quicker. Planes move faster than ships, and there are no obstacles in the air preventing direct point-to-point travel. This speedy method of transport also decreases the potential for goods to be damaged during shipment.
Quality of Goods
As just mentioned, the transport of cargo by air decreases the potential for damaged goods since travel time is shorter. Air freight services also have increased control over their shipping processes since their operations are so time-sensitive. This means that goods are often more protected than they would be if they traveled by sea. For these reasons, insurance premium rates are often lower for air cargo than sea freight.
Financial and Environmental Cost
One significant benefit of shipping goods by air is that it is generally less costly than shipping by sea, not only in terms of finance, but also in terms of the environment. These two aspects are intertwined; the reduced travel time air travel offers results in fewer stops along the way, meaning less fuel, reduced cost for the shipper and receiver, and reduced negative environmental impact.
Of course, the size, weight, and material of the goods being transported will determine whether they are best carried by plane or by ship. In this way, manufacturers and sellers must consider both air and ocean logistics. Purchasing agent training is important in understanding the details of these logistics. Even as cargo airlines grow in popularity, sea freight shipping will remain an integral aspect of international commerce.