When you want to ship your belongings, there are two main options for you to choose-air freight and ground freight. Which of these options suits you best depends on what are your shipping and where. You need to determine that basic information first, in order to pick a way of shipping that will efficiently fulfill your needs. Hence, you should learn more about air freight and shipping in order to make the correct decision. Let’s analyze this subject through all the factors that affect that decision.

What are you shipping?

Before you start comparing air freight and ground freight shipping and their advantages and disadvantages, you should ask yourself what you are shipping. Different items require different shipment methods. Also, their size and weight affect that choice. Have in mind that shipping large and heavy items such as cars is usually cheaper via ground. Beside inland trucking, car shipment is sometimes done by boat too. While smaller items, products, and high-security items usually require air freight shipping.

Air freight and ground freight are different, plane has its advantages

Air freight is the safest shipping method due to airport security systems

Where is your shipment going?

Where or more specifically how far your shipment is going is a crucial factor that should determine the way of shipment for your belongings. Generally, for some shorter distances between the start and end points for your packages, inland trucking should cover it by your delivery deadline. On the other hand, the longer the distance is, the more likely it is that you will need to use air freights shipping services.

Since ground freight shipping costs are usually drastically cheaper than air freight services, for short distances, it always makes sense to choose trucks over airplanes. But if your shipment needs to cross thousands of miles and spend several days traveling, ground shipping may not be an option. Additionally, air shipment is definitely much more accurate and reliable for on-time delivery to a faraway location. Hence, if you have some tight deadline you need to meet, air freight is the way to go, even if it costs more. This brings us to the next factor.

How urgent is your shipment?

Air freight vs ground freight shipping, what is better for urgent shipment? This depends on when your shipment needs to arrive. The choice between air and ground depends not only on how fast it needs to arrive but also on how precise the delivery timing should be. As you already know, ground shipping is slower. Hence, unless your company is big enough to have its own distribution network, most trucks have to stop at multiple locations and complete many deliveries on its way. This process adds time to each shipment and makes it difficult to guarantee the precise arrival time.

Of course, airplanes cover much greater distances in much less time. But have in mind that your shipment will probably still need to travel by truck from an air distribution center to its final destination. However, in that case, the distance will be much shorter and have a shorter transit time accordingly.

Furthermore, if your shipment is just scheduled to arrive on a certain day or within a range of days, ground shipping will do just fine. But if it needs to arrive at a precise time, air freight is much more accurate option.

Truck on the road

Ground freight is usually the cheapest shipment method

What about the costs?

As you could imagine, shipping costs are one of the most important factors in any decision. Obviously, ground freight shipping, whether by truck or ocean vessel, generally costs less than air freight. However, there are some exceptions. The price also depends on how a freight carrier charges for international shipping. And most importantly, remember to check warehousing fees at seaports and airports in order to have an accurate total price. These fees can make a great difference in actual shipping costs and change the ratio between air freight vs ground freight shipping. A good idea is to request a shipping quote and double check all possible additional fees.

Reliability matters

Reliability is the only factor that you cannot turn into numbers or put in a spreadsheet, but it really matters. So you need to keep that in mind when deciding between air freight and ground freight shipping. Although ground freight shipping is slower, delays are actually more likely when shipping by air. This is because the weather changes can disrupt air traffic control anywhere. On the other hand, shipping by ground or by sea is much less dependent on the weather.

However, when using ground shipping freight, you need to be aware that their schedules are much less accurate than the flight schedule. Hence, give it some thought regarding this matter too. You cannot really put a price on reliability, but missed deadlines can be costly.

Ships sailing

Beside inland trucking, large and heavy items are often shipped by boat too

Keep it safe

Air freight is generally the most secure way to ship something. This is because security at airports is tightly controlled in both cargo and passenger areas. These high-security systems protect your air shipments against theft or damage in a way that ground transportation services simply cannot. The fact is that sudden stops and even the unloading and transferring of goods increase the risk of damage to products. Of course, we are talking about very rare situations here, but keep that in mind anyway.

Air freight vs ground freight shipping

  • Size and weight of your shipment
  • Type of items you are shipping
  • Shipment time
  • Shipment cost
  • Distance
  • Schedule reliability
  • Route
  • Security level

These are all factors that should affect your decision when deciding between air freight and ground freight shipping. You need to know your shipment and your goal well in order to choose the right shipping method. Of course, it’s always a good idea to ask the shipping or moving company for advice. They have the experience to help you out with decision making. We wish you to make the right one!

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