When it comes to international trade, the transportation of goods is an essential aspect that businesses need to consider. Two common modes of transportation are air freight and sea freight, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between air freight and sea freight in customs clearance and freight forwarding, specifically for Australian businesses.
Speed of transportation
The speed of transportation is one of the primary differences between air freight and sea freight. Air freight is the quickest mode of transportation, with delivery times dependent upon the origin and destination and if a direct flight option is available. Sea freight, on the other hand, will take much longer, again, dependent upon the origin and destination and if a direct route is possible or if a transhipment via another port is required then this will add to the transit time. This difference in speed can have significant implications for businesses when it comes to customs clearance and freight forwarding. When shipping via air freight, companies should make sure that their customs clearance and freight forwarding processes are efficient and streamlined in order to minimise transit delays. When shipping via sea freight, businesses have a bit more leeway in terms of processing time, but still need to ensure that all necessary documentation is submitted in a timely manner to allow for sufficient vetting by your customs broker to avoid delays and in turn additional charges.
Cost of transportation
The cost of transportation is another significant difference between air freight and sea freight. Air Freight is generally more expensive than sea freight as it’s a much faster and a more specialised service. However, there are more restrictions on cargo size and commodity type when it comes to air freight. Sea Freight shipments are less expensive due to the longer transit time and less specialised equipment.
In terms of customs clearance and freight forwarding, transportation is a major component of overall retail product cost. When deciding between air freight and sea freight, businesses should carefully consider the cost of transportation, as well as any additional costs associated with customs clearance and freight forwarding, such as customs duties and fees.
The documentation requirements for customs clearance and freight forwarding can also differ between air freight and sea freight. Air freight typically requires less documentation than sea freight. Although the transport mode does affect the documentation required, it’s really the actual commodity that will determine what documentation is required. You customs broker will guide you and your supplier in what documentation is required. It is always best to check this prior to your shipment leaving the origin port so that any specialised treatments or documents required can be performed or provided at origin.
Packaging & handling requirements
If you are sending cargo via Air Freight or LCL (less than container load) Sea Freight you will need to ensure that the cargo is extremely well packed as it will be handled many times before it arrives at your door. Examples of good packaging – timber crates and pallets that have used treated, good quality timber or if your supplier uses boxes, make sure the carboard is good quality. Also, shrink wrapping boxes is good to minimise any possible water damage. Condensation damage is common in sea freight shipments so any way that your supplier can minimise any type of damage with good quality packaging we encourage you to communicate that requirement to them.
To summarise, the differences in customs clearance and freight forwarding between air freight and sea freight can have significant implications for Australian businesses engaged in international trade. Businesses should carefully consider their options and communicate closely with their freight forwarders and customs brokers to ensure that their shipments are processed efficiently, cost-effectively and in accordance with Australian regulations.
Australian Customs Brokers & Logistics is a freight forwarding company in Brisbane that can assist you with all aspects of shipping. We connect businesses to the most dependable and cost-effective freight forwarding services available on the market through our global freight forwarding and logistics network. Get in touch today to see how we can help your business save time and money on shipping.