Should I send my items via Air or Ocean?

One question we often hear from importers here at Customs Clearance Intl. is:

Am I better off shipping my items via air or ocean?

Should I send my items via Air or Ocean?

It’s an important question – one that could save you lots of money if you choose wisely. Many people purchase small shipments from items abroad on the internet, and it can be tricky trying to navigate the importing world on your own. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone – you have the import and export experts at Customs Clearance Intl. on your side. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have and help make your import and export experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

2 factors to keep in mind

Now to answer the burning question at hand! As a general rule, if your shipment weights under 150 kilos, plus is has a relatively small cubic volume, then it will most likely be less expensive to ship by air than ocean. Carefully consider whether your shipment weighs less than 150 kilos, then check its cubic volume and make sure it’s relatively small. If that’s the case, we recommend shipping by air. Shipping by ocean would be much more expensive.

Why is shipping by ocean so expensive?

Shipping by ocean would be more expensive in this case because you’ll have to pay a minimum bill of landing charge, ISF filing requirement, warehouse devanning, documentation charges, and forklift charges. Also, if your shipment is designated for a government examination, that will add considerable costs if you ship by ocean. If you’d prefer to ship by ocean, to reduce landed costs per piece of merchandise, you should purchase enough items to fill 40 ft. container loads. Another important consideration to keep in mind when choosing between air and ocean shipping is the value of the merchandise and the transit time it will take to receive your items. For example, expensive electronics will almost always ship via air freight because of these essential factors.

Got more questions?

Do you have any more questions about the import or export process? We are here to help! Give us a call at 1-310-322-3228 or email The import and export processes can be super confusing, but we have been in this business for over years, so you can always trust our expert advice. Put our experience to work for you today! We provide the following services at all ports of entry via air, ocean, rail, or truck:

  • Door to door transportation
  • Licensed customs broker (ACE)
  • Licensed Ocean Freight Forwarder (OTI #019736F)
  • Warehousing distribution
  • Packing and crating services
  • Customs bonds
  • Cargo insurance
  • Duty drawback
  • LTL/FTL Domestic Truck Service (MC#811192)
  • Freight Payments Audits
  • Freight Consolidation Services
  • Remote Location Filing (RLF) at all US ports of entry via air, ocean, rail, or truck

Contact us today! We look forward to making your import and/or export experience as simple and easy as possible.

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