What Is the Cheapest Shipping Method?

The Cheapest Shipping Method

Transportation by sea is the cheapest shipping method. Airfreight, on the other hand, can be less expensive for smaller cargo. A complete cost analysis, in which all expenses associated with each alternative are estimated and compared, may be used to make a full comparison.

There are several options for getting your goods to their final destination. Products can be transported by road or rail on land, by cargo ships across vast oceans and seas, and by freight carrier planes via the air. “What Is the Cheapest method to ship a package?” is a frequently asked question we are planning to answer here. 

Before going into more detail to find the cheapest shipping method, let’s go through the different shipping modes and discover more about them. 

Different Shipping Methods

A cargo journey is typically multimodal, including many modes of transportation to reach a destination. They’ll most likely go by road at the beginning and end of the procedure, but what about in the middle? There are usually one or many basic modes of shipping to choose from when determining how your cargo freight is sent, and you should examine how your shipment will travel for the most prolonged time.

Selecting a primary mode of transportation is a significant choice that significantly impacts factors such as delivery speed, shipping costs, delay/damage risk, and environmental concerns. We’ll look at the benefits and downsides of each form of transportation now.

Sea Freight

Let’s start with the most economical shipping method, the kind of transportation most associated with carrying freight. Before the introduction of air freight, the only way to move goods was through sea freight

Minimal CO2 Emission

International freight shipment is still made by sea freight. It is, without a doubt, the most carbon-efficient mode of transportation. Consider this: a boat can be pushed down a river, but how difficult would it be to push a truck down a road? As a result, marine freight requires significantly less energy to move.

Global Reach

Sea movements, on the other hand, are more prone to be delayed by poor weather and are typically slower, but what they lack in speed, they more than makeup for in reach. Nowadays, you can carry cargo to practically any location by the sea, as there is almost always a port of entry nearby.


For whatever amount of cargo, sea freight is exceptionally cost-effective. Barges can transport large volumes of packaged products or bulk shipments across long distances or short distances at a cost that is typically unmatched by other modes of transportation.

Smaller volumes by bottles, case, and pallet, or IBC and drum, also move at reasonable pricing because freight forwarders can use Groupage / LCL services to share space in their containers among shippers.

Today, 90 percent of all goods are transported by sea, resulting in a large and well-developed worldwide shipping network.

On the other hand, the marine freight industry may experience unprecedented and chaotic conditions, including port congestion, shipping container shortages, customs delays, and more. It’s important to remember that trustworthy alternative transportation modes are also available.


Sea freight is considered the least expensive and cheapest shipping method for large packages. The cost of fuel and space is far more affordable than air freight. In most circumstances, though, the no-frills approach of ocean freight is exactly what companies want.

What Is the Cheapest Shipping Method? 

Transportation by sea is the cheapest shipping method. On the other hand, airfreight can be the cheapest shipping method for small businesses that plan to ship small cargo. A complete cost analysis, in which all expenses associated with each alternative are estimated and compared, may be used to make a complete comparison.

For each method of transportation – air, sea, and land – different metrics are used to calculate the cost. Due to the limited space in an airplane, commodities will be priced using a unique formula for air transportation. The formulas for road and sea transportation are different. When comparing air and sea freight, it’s worth noting that the cost of shipping less than a container by sea freight is computed in cubic meters.

If your cargo is small, air shipping would be far less expensive. It might still be more expensive, but with a minor price difference, you could pick the safest option, air freight for sensitive cargo.

Air Freight

Air freight is the fastest mode of transport for time-sensitive, critical, and perishable cargo.

Air freight is the only other option for transporting things over international borders.

Quick Shipping

Air freight cargo is the best option when speed is of the essence. Cargo planes typically travel at a rate of around 900 kilometers per hour. Furthermore, cargo planes usually fly on direct flight lines, ensuring there is no possibility of traffic congestion in the sky, enhancing their unrivaled delivery speed.

The expense of both financial and environmental air freight is the trade-off; it is the most expensive form of transportation and the largest source of carbon emissions.

Minimum Risk 

On the other hand, air freight is a very low-risk means of transportation. Perishable products have a short shelf life, and high-value commodities necessitate strict security measures, making them great candidates for air freight. Packaging damage is less likely to occur on the route since flight routes can be quickly and easily altered in lousy weather compared to other logistical transit modes.

Large Quantity 

It also surprises some individuals that large amounts of freight cargo can be transported by air. More giant air freighters capable of carrying up to 110 tonnes can be hired entirely. Of course, this sort of shipping is uncommon, but it is used; most shippers choose a spot in the hold and pay for their share of the flight.


A shipment of air freight is significantly more expensive than a shipment of sea freight; however, it’s the cheapest shipping method for small items. This is due mainly to the plane’s available capacity, higher fuel consumption, and higher operating expenses.

Rail Freight

Rail freight is an inexpensive mode of cargo transportation when the delivery route is across the land. It’s remarkably quick, safe, and trustworthy, with seldom delays.


Regarding cargo shipping, the most critical issue is almost always meeting the specified delivery date. As a result, selecting a mode of logistics transportation that guarantees reliability is vital; rail freight transit does just that. The weather has a minor effect on trains, and railway officials strictly manage the capacity on the lines, so there will never be traffic congestion. Trains rarely stop, and most services are direct to the destination.


Furthermore, rail freight transit is an environmentally friendly solution for in-land cargo operations. Why? Because it runs on electricity, it releases minimal CO2, making it greener than conventional modes of transportation for transporting heavy freight loads over several carriages and long distances.

High-level Security

The level of security rail freight transit provides for the material it transports is another area where it excels. Great railway robberies and the theft of the goods they transport are shown as easy pickings in old movies and historical stories. When, in reality, the reverse is true. Theft from cargo trains is quite uncommon. Railways and freight terminals are relatively secure locations with low crime rates, making them the safest means to convey products across the land.

Road Transportation 

The easiest and quickest way to handle domestic deliveries is via road, the second most prevalent mode of transportation. Three-quarters of Europe’s interior freight is transported by road.

Integral Transport

Every logistical movement of commodities necessitates road transportation, although just for a part of the shipment. It is not only the second most popular form of transport, but it is also the most necessary mode of transportation. It, like sea freight, can provide complete container load and groupage/LCL services to freight customers. Though there may be more contact points when traveling by road, the container/trailer share cost may be lower.

Simpler Documentation 

Road freight documentation requirements are also more straightforward, especially if trucks do not cross borders. Goods transportation via road is also typically quick since there are many transport companies with various vehicle sizes available to transport your cargo.


We hope we could have helped you find the cheapest shipping method. As you noticed, choosing the cheapest shipping method depends on your cargo volume, but this industry generally considers sea shipping the most cost-effective shipping method. There is no particular way of cargo shipping superior to the others.

Cost and risk should be calculated based on the kind of goods, their volume, the urgency of the delivery, and possible delays. You can contact us to find out more about the cheapest trackable shipping method for your cargo.

What’s the cheapest shipping method?

Sea freight is the cheapest shipping method for large packages. 

What is the cheapest shipping method for small businesses?

The cheapest shipping method for small businesses and small cargo is air freight. 

Why is the shipping cost high? 

Due to the pandemic and lack of empty containers, the shipping cost has risen in the last few years. 

What is the most cost-effective way to ship a package from Dubai to the United States?

The cheapest shipping from Dubai to USA is to use a reliable international shipping service. Rates vary depending on the size and weight of the package, the delivery speed, and other factors, so it’s best to compare shipping services to find the most cost-effective option.

How much does it cost to ship a container to Dubai?

The cost of shipping a container to Dubai is dependent on various factors, including the size of the container, the weight of the cargo, the origin and destination countries, and the type of shipping service chosen. The exact cost of shipping a container to Dubai can be calculated using DFreight’s Rate Quote tool.

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Air transportation is a convenient and fast way to move cargo and is suitable for small and large companies as well as individuals.