Updated: Apr 3
Your supply chain is only as good as its weakest link, and all too often that weak link ends up being transportation.
As consumer demand for affordable goods and fast shipping increases, it is imperative that businesses seek out ever more effective ways to meet consumer needs. Improving transportation times and rates can make a huge difference for businesses and their customers.
Shippers who experience cost or logistics constraints often have to get creative. That’s where combination shipping comes into play.
What Is Multimodal or Combination Shipping?
Multimodal or Combination shipping utilizes multiple forms of transport in order to deliver goods. While transporting sea freight can be cheap, shippers often sacrifice the element of speed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, air freight ships are incredibly fast but can also be incredibly costly. The solution? Combine the two!
Air-Sea shipping (used interchangeably with Sea-Air shipping) offers the benefit of low-cost ocean transport with high-speed air transport. This method of transportation is the ideal match between overall cost savings and reasonable shipping times.
When Should I Use Sea-Air Shipping?
Keep in mind that while many cargoes benefit from combination shipping, not all goods are suitable for this method. Sea-Air shipping is ideal for internationally bound cargo, which must already involve multiple modes of transportation. It is less ideal for standard shipping containers, which must be packed and repacked.
This method of transportation is best used as a recovery option for shipments that are already running late. If you find yourself experiencing factory delays that interfere with shipping times, utilizing combination shipping can help you make up for the lost time.
How Does Air-Sea Shipping Work?
You may be asking, what is air-sea shipping? Let’s look at some examples of Sea-Air and Air-Sea shipping to get a better understanding of what it entails.
A Japan-based company can utilize the convenience of major trade lanes by practicing combination shipping. The Japanese company ships its cargo via sea to the shipment hub of Los Angeles. From LAX, the cargo is flown to its final destination in Kansas City (MCI). By investing in this type of transportation, the company saves both money and time without sacrificing speed.
US-based companies can also utilize Air-Sea shipping to export goods outside of the country. For example, an inland U.S. based company that is shipping goods to India may choose to fly their cargo to one of the nearby travel hubs such as Seattle or Miami. From there, cargo can be shipped via the ocean to Dubai, one of the world’s most successful multi-modal transportation hubs.
Air-Sea shipping is a great solution for companies seeking to save time and money when engaging in international shipping. This type of transportation works best for small volume shipments that are under time constraints.