Is air freight the best way to transport your cargo?

Thanks to aviation, the world is literally at our feet. We board the plane and within one day we are on the other side of the world. Aviation connects and has ensured that we get to know new cultures.

Aviation is also inevitable for for global trading. Goods from Asia are in Europe within the blink of the eye. Air freight  makes trading between continents a lot easier and more efficient. Although air freight is practically indispensable, this mode of transport also has a lot of disadvantages.

First of all, air freight is by far the most expensive way to transport goods. This is due to the effort involved: an entire aircraft has to be filled, there are strict rules in aviation and there must be sufficient fuel. This immediately brings us to the second disadvantage: it is very polluting. To give an example: a commercial flight to Paris costs an average of 0.2 tons of CO2 emissions. That is comparable to the electricity consumption of a household for at least 1.5 months.

Can you imagine how polluting it is that every day hundreds of planes take off and land from the other side of the world, to transport goods? Climate change is a serious problem and that is why it is important that we look for sustainable energy resources and environmentally friendly means of transport.

The pros and cons of air freight

+ The fastest way to transport goods
+ Efficient
- The highest CO2 emissions and therefore environmentally unfriendly
- Most expensive mode of transport

Air freight alternatives

Although air freight is often the most efficient way to transport goods, you and the earth pay a high price for it. Fortunately, there are cheaper and environmentally friendlier alternatives to transport your goods. 

Sea freight

Sea freight is the most environmentally friendly way to transport goods around the world. Previously it was the cheapest option, but the aftermath of the corona pandemic has exposed the fragility of this mode of transport. Several ports closed (including one of the largest ports in the world, in Vietnam) causing ships to come to a standstill and a major shortage of containers. This made transport by sea less attractive. These issues cause longer transit times times and container prices shoot through the roof.

Rail freight

Diverse goederentreinen op een rangeerterrein tussen Europa en Azië.

Did you know you can transport goods by train, all the way from Asia? This is due to the construction of the New Silk Road, a rail network connecting Europe, Asia and the Northern part of Africa. Transit times are shorter compared to esea, which means that you have goods at home faster. Also, transporting goods per train emits on average of 27 times less CO2 compared to air freight. That's why rail freight has the best of both worlds.

Air freight, rail freight or sea freight?

Air freight is the fastest way, sea freight is the least polluting and rail freight transport is the best of both worlds. It is a lot cheaper than air freight and, due to the pandemic, also a lot more attractive compared to sea freight. In addition, the insured value of rail is lower compared to sea freight. The longer your goods are in transit, the higher your insurance fee and risk are.

Rail freight is by far the best option if you combine transit times, costs and speed. And of course you want the most competitive price for your goods. In case you need goods transported from places oversea, we can help you with our intermodal transport solutions where we combine several means of transportation. 

Are you curious about what we can do for your organization in the field of rail freight transport? Challenge our rail expert.