Sea Freight vs Air Freight: Which is Right for Your Business

When expanding your business, both sea freight and air freight can provide dependable and efficient methods for transporting goods from China to the. That’s why selecting the most suitable transportation mode is critical to ensure the success of your international shipping endeavors.

In this guide, we’ll analyze the difference between sea freight vs air freight by understanding the different factors that you should consider when choosing between the two. By the end of this post, you’ll be empowered to make an informed decision that perfectly aligns with your business needs.

What is Sea Freight?

What is Sea Freight?

Sea freight, also known as ocean freight, is an established and widely used method for transporting goods across long distances. It offers a reliable and cost-effective solution for business owners who’d like to purchase imported products to satisfy their customers’ needs.

In this mode of transportation, products are carefully packed into intermodal containers to ensure their safety and protection during transit. Then, they’re transported by cargo carriers, typically commercial ocean vessels, which can handle large volumes of goods.

With Cargoboss, our sea freight can accommodate different shipment sizes. You can opt for Full Container Loads (FCL) for larger shipments and Less-than Container Loads for smaller shipments.

What is Air Freight?

What is Air Freight?

With the use of aircraft, air freight provides a highly efficient solution for transporting goods from one country to another. It offers fast and secure shipping options, which ensures that you will receive your goods promptly and safely.

Its air cargo has two categories: general cargo and special cargo. The general cargo encompasses shipping goods that do not require specific handling conditions, such as everyday consumer products, non-perishable items, and electronics.

On the other hand, special cargo caters to the shipment of sensitive items that demand extra care, such as jewelry, luxury goods, perishable goods, live animals, and more. These goods may be transported using temperature or humidity-controlled containers, along with specialized packaging to maintain their integrity throughout the journey.

Sea Freight vs Air Freight: Comparison

When evaluating the suitability of sea or air freight for your shipment requirements, several factors must be considered.


Air freight ensures that you can receive your shipping goods within 2-4 days, which reduces the risk of delays—promoting prompt delivery and minimizing the risk of delays.

In contrast, ocean freight typically involves lengthier shipping durations from China to the Philippines, with shipments spanning 7-14 days, which is a cost-effective solution for those who’d like to reduce their shipping expenses without compromising the delivery and quality of their goods.

Amount of Cargo

Sea freight offers a remarkable advantage in terms of capacity, making it the perfect solution for businesses with high-volume orders or oversized items. Its ability to accommodate large quantities of goods ensures smooth logistics for bulk shipments.

On the other hand, air freight shines when it comes to handling small volumes of delicate, time-sensitive products.


Sea freight provides affordable shipping rates that’s why businesses can enjoy more economical rates. They can also opt either for Less-than Container Load if they want to share container space with other products.

Meanwhile, air freight comes at a higher cost compared to sea freight. It’s due to the fact it’s powered by jet fuel, which is a relatively expensive commodity. The cost of fuel can account for a significant portion of the overall cost of air freight.

For instance, air freight produces 500 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer of transportation, while sea freight emits only 10-40 grams. Therefore, air freight is about 20 to 30 times more carbon-intensive than sea freight.

Environmental Impact

In the Philippines, many businesses and customers focus on reducing their environmental impact, which is why sea freight emerges as a highly sustainable and environmentally friendly option. It contributes to a smaller carbon footprint compared to air freight.

By choosing sea freight, business owners can align their shipping practices with sustainability in mind. This not only appeals to environmentally conscious customers but also to a greener and more sustainable future.

When to Use Sea Freight vs Air Freight?

When to Use Sea Freight vs Air Freight?

For businesses that prioritize swift delivery, air freight is a good choice, despite the higher cost. It guarantees you timely transportation, allowing you to meet tight deadlines and satisfy your customers’ expectations.

Alternatively, ocean freight offers cost advantages while accommodating longer transit times for shipments covering greater distances. This enables businesses to optimize their shipping costs, especially for non-urgent deliveries, making it an appealing choice for those seeking budget-friendly solutions without compromising the condition of their shipments.

Key Takeaway

When deciding between sea freight vs air freight, it is important to consider your specific shipping requirements and priorities. Make sure to understand their strengths and considerations. This way, you can make an informed decision that caters to your business’s unique needs.

And, if you’re looking for a reliable China-to-Philippines shipping company, you’re in the right place! CargoBoss is a leading sea freight forwarder in the Philippines. We offer affordable rates from China to the Philippines shipment. For more information, contact CargoBoss here.