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Logistics Terms What are the Differences?: Air, Ocean and Express

Registration dateMAY 30, 2023

What are the Differences?: Air, Ocean and Express
With the recent surge in import and export transportation, different modes of transportation are being used in the transportation market. Each mode of transportation has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, and shippers can choose the most suitable mode depending on the type, distance, duration and cost of transportation.

To help shippers make the most desirable choice, let’s compare the differences, advantages and disadvantages of air, ocean transportation and express.
Air vs Ocean vs Express Air vs Ocean vs Express
When high-value cargo needs to be transported quickly
Air transportation is considered a safe mode of transportation due to its short transit time and low risk of damage or loss. While the freight rate itself is higher compared to other transportation methods, air transportation can be a good option for transporting short-lived products or high-value cargo because it can respond quickly to urgent demand.

However, there is a disadvantage that bulk transportation is not possible and transportation routes are limited since cargoes are transported via airport.
When long-distance transportation of large cargo volume is required
Ocean transportation can carry various cargoes from large-scale goods to small products, and is relatively inexpensive compared to air transportation. It is also the most flexible form of transportation, accounting for the largest share of global trade. However, due to long transit time, ocean transportation is not suitable for urgent shipments, and there are risks associated with bad weather and condition of the vessel.
When small corgo needs to be transported urgently
Express is a door-to-door system that combines air and inland transportation to deliver goods to the shipper's doorstep. It can be the best option for urgent transportation of small shipments. It is convenient for shippers as the carrier can often assist with customs clearance and documentation process.
Air vs Ocean vs Express Q&A
Q:What is the biggest difference between air transportation, ocean transportation and express?
Answer: Speed!
Ocean transportation is slow due to the speed of the ship, and air transportation is fast due to high speed and altitude, but paperwork and customs clearance may delay the entire process. On the other hand, express is the fastest mode of transportation because shipments go through simplified customs clearance and are delivered to the shipper's doorstep for immediate pickup.
Q:'From an economic standpoint, which transportation method is the most efficient?
Answer: Ocean Transportation!
Ocean transportation is the most economic transportation method, since it can transport large amount of goods at once, resulting in a lower cost per unit. However, it is important to note that there may be costs associated with using a port or warehouse in addition to using a vessel.
Q:Among the three modes of transportation, which is the safest transportation medhod?
Answer: Air Transportation!
Aircrafts are usually subject to very strict safety regulations and have facilities and services to ensure accurate logistics transportation as well as safe boarding and disembarking. In addition, the transit time is significantly shorter than other modes of transportation, reducing the risk of damage, loss, etc.

Based on the above characteristics of air, ocean transportation and express, shippers should choose the appropriate transportation mode according to the type, quantity, distance, transportation period, and cost of the cargo. For example, if you are a seller who needs to deliver seasonal products to Amazon quickly, you can use the Amazon FBA Express (Air) service to ensure safe and fast delivery, while for heavy products with sufficient inventory, you can use ocean transportation to reduce costs. Under the circumstances with similar conditions, we advise you to directly receive quotes and compare costs carefully.