Sea, Air, or Excess Baggage?

A local move is straightforward enough and can easily be completed on the road using a truck. However, an international move is much more complicated as your belongings will have to be transported by sea or air. To know your options with your moving company and make an informed decision, you have to grasp the basics of the different transport modes.

The most common question is perhaps, which is the better option – sea or air. Both have its merits, and we analyse them all for you in this section. Freight services are not always necessary for a move, though. All you need may jolly well be some extra baggage to go with your flight.

Air freight is often deemed as the more expensive option when compared to sea freight however, it may not necessarily be so. Sea carriers usually charge by per container, while air carriers charge by chargeable weight and size of your shipment. Therefore, if you have a shipment less than a container, air freight may cost about the same or even less.

In terms of speed, air freight is also definitely faster than sea freight so you may see it as you are paying extra for the time savings. There are other advantages as well - airlines usually follow a strict schedule, and have a higher record of delivering timely shipments. As there are multiple international flights per day, there will not be much delay if a flight is missed but we cannot say the same for missing the cut-off time at a seaport. Hence, the time estimates of sea freight is usually a range, and not as reliable.

Air shipments can be packed on passenger airlines or dedicated cargo planes. For transportation of huge payloads such as a helicopter, a super cargo plane is used. The world’s largest transport plane can hold 80 cars!

Nevertheless, if you are not bringing much more than what your luggage can hold, you may be better off topping up for some excess baggage. The price for an additional third check-in bag, with varying weight limits, ranges from USD $50-200 on international airlines. You may check out the price comparison chart here.


Depending on the collection and delivery points, sometimes a clever combination of different transport modes can save lots of time and money. In multimodal transportation, where two or more modes are being used, it will usually involve vehicles such as truck, rail, car, ship and aeroplane.

Sea-air is a combination commonly used in developed countries. Achieving a higher speed than sea alone and a lower cost than air, this option is ideal for transporting high-value electronics and seasonal items that demand timeliness.

Air-road combination is used when the cargo has to cover long distances to move to a specific city. This is often employed in the United States and the Europe region, where airlines nowadays will provide road feeder services. Transporting the cargo across borders using their own trucks, they will connect with other airline bases which operates long-haul trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic and inter-continental services.

In other cases, sea-road is commonly used to transport cars to warehouse abroad and rail to waterway canals route is used to transport hazardous or flammable liquids that are unsuitable for the road.