Air freight vs sea freight: which is best for you?

When shipping your belongings abroad, there are two main options: air freight (send them on a plane) or sea freight (send them on a ship). Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, and your decision will depend on your priorities. 


Air freight Sea freight
Fast – only takes a few days to arrive                              Slower – takes 6-8 weeks to arrive in Cyprus from the UK
Cost dependent on size AND weight Cost only dependent on size
More expensive More cost-effective
Higher carbon footprint Lower carbon footprint



air freight vs sea freightHow fast is air freight vs sea freight?

If you need to get your belongings to your destination as quickly as possible, then air freight might be best for you.

A plane will get your goods from the UK to Cyprus, for example, in a matter of days. Whereas, a ship can take 6-8 weeks to arrive in Cyprus from the UK.


Carbon footprint considerations

Environmental impact is becoming a priority for more and more people around the world as we continue to experience the effects of global warming. 

Different forms of transport produce different amounts of greenhouse gases. And when it comes to air freight vs sea freight, the difference is significant. 

In 2022, Sourceful found that using air freight would produce 31x more emissions than sea freight. There is also evidence to say that sea freight has the smallest carbon footprint of all major forms of long-distance freight. Air, however, has the largest.


air freight vs sea freightThe cost of air freight vs sea freight

One of the biggest differences between air freight and sea freight is how the cost is calculated. 

Your quote from your shipping supplier if you opt for sea freight will only be based on the SIZE of your consignment. However, your quote if you opt for air freight will depend on the size and the WEIGHT of your consignment. This means that for heavy items like white goods, furniture, pianos, and similar, sea freight usually ends up being more cost-effective. 

If you are only shipping light-weight items, then the two options might be comparable in cost. Your choice will depend on what you are shipping and how heavy it is. 


We recommend getting a quote for both air freight AND sea freight, weighing-up your priorities with all the information you need to make the best choice for you.

Get in touch for a free quote