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Different Types Of Shipping Modes – What Is The Best One For Your Business?

Debarpita Sen

Specialist - Content Marketing @ Shiprocket

October 15, 2019

7 min read

You might be ready with your eCommerce store and would have taken care of most aspects of your business. But, are you confused about what mode of shipping to choose to get your product delivered to the customer? If yes, you have come to the right place. Here, we will discuss all the various modes of transporting cargo and other goods through the land or air.

All three modes of shipping take the cargo and deliver it to its destination. A business owner may choose any of the transport methods to deliver his product depending on various factors such as time consumed, types of goods to be shipped, budget, etc.

Let us discuss the different modes of shipping.

Shipping Through Air

In this mode of transport, aircraft are used to transport goods. Air transport is undoubtedly the fastest mode of transport. It is extremely useful, as it is the most convenient form of shipping, and does not have to compete with many natural barriers. 

This advantage ultimately makes it the most accessible to all regions regardless of any land obstruction. Airfreight service can deliver most items, except anything extremely heavyweight that may not fit inside the aircraft.

This form of transport is also regarded as the best shipping mode for perishable goods. Shipping through the air is usually the most expensive compared to the other modes of transport.

Products that are shipped through air transport, are usually categorized under the express shipping segment as the shipping speed is faster, the products are delivered sooner, and the process is slightly more expensive. With air transport, you can expect your packages to be delivered in a span of 1 to 2 days. 

Benefits of Air Transport 

  • Faster Delivery
  • Suitable for Perishable Goods
  • Can Include Almost Everything

Shipping Through Land

Land shipping is one of the oldest forms of transporting goods. This is the most useful when it comes to delivering goods within a country or across neighboring borders. Trucks are typically used to transport goods via roads, as they have huge spaces to ship bulkier items such as construction material and even vehicles. This mode of shipping is comparatively cheaper than the others. However, it might take longer for the goods to reach the final destination. Another form of land transport is railways. There are two main options when it comes to shipping goods by rail.

  • If your business is located close to a railway station, you can directly load your goods onto the train and have it delivered to its destination. 
  • Intermodal Service:  This type of shipping service involves two different forms of freight, such as trucks and trains. The freight is first loaded into trailers, then trucked to the railway station where the freight is loaded onto the train. At the final destination, trailers are loaded back onto another truck and delivered.

Rail shipping has several advantages. It’s cost-effective and can carry larger goods across the country. India has one of the largest railway networks in the world. You can play this to your advantage and ship goods across the country.

Shipping by road also involves short-distance delivery like hyperlocal or intra-city deliveries. These are done via bicycles, motorbikes, or even cars. SARAL by Shiprocket offers hyperlocal delivery with delivery partners like Dunzo, Wefast, and Shadowfax.

Shipping to land is more suitable for products that are heavy. You can ship items like refrigerators, televisions, ACs, etc.using this mode of transport. 

When you should buy a land, it is usually known as the standard shipping process as the time taken is comparatively higher, almost 3 to 5 days.

Benefits of Land Transport 

  • Cheaper
  • Suitable for Bulky Goods
  • Extensive

Shipping Through Sea

Shipping is to be done through the sea for various purposes such as military or commercial. It is the method used to transport comparatively larger quantities of products via cargo ships where goods are packed in containers and the containers are further loaded into a vessel. Almost everything can be shipped through the sea, however, it is not recommended to ship cargo through the sea when you want your product to be delivered fast.

Benefits of Sea Transport

  • Cheap
  • Safe
  • Suitable for all types

Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Shipping Mode

There are many aspects you should keep in mind when selecting the most suitable form of freight to get your products delivered to the final destination. Choosing the right mode of transportation for your business can help you in reducing your shipping and logistics costs. Now that we know about the various modes of shipping, let us take a look at what are the factors you should consider while choosing your shipping mode-

Freight Cost

Budget should always be one of the most important factors to consider while shipping your goods, as prices can vary based on the type and amount of goods that need to be transported. In case you are transporting heavier items to a farther destination within the country, then shipping through rail will be the most economical. Sea transport is likely to be the cheapest mode of transport suitable for heavier items with no time constraint to reach the destination. Perishable items are best transported through air, although it is expensive. Importers and exporters, however, should always keep in mind that the “hidden costs” such as insurance charges will be added to their overall transportation cost.

Type Of Goods 

The type of items you are transporting to your buyer plays a very important role in which mode of transport you should opt for. While road and air transport cater mainly to the transportation of smaller items, rail and sea transport cater to heavier goods. The shipping mode for your business will also depend on how fragile, high-value or dangerous your product is. Land and air modes of transport are considered to be the best option when it comes to high-value and fragile products. 


The speed of freight service is another major factor you should consider while choosing the means of transport. The decision you make here can directly impact your end customer. Faster the freight service, sooner the product reaches your customer. Air transport is considered to be the fastest mode of transport, while water transport is the slowest. Consumers choose who to buy from based on their overall customer experience. Having the lowest price or best product no longer guarantees you a sale. You need to provide them with a faster delivery service to ensure customer satisfaction, which will ultimately boost the growth of your business.

Shiprocket is India’s leading shipping and logistics platform that can ensure the fastest delivery of goods worldwide. Through Shiprocket’s Courier Recommendation Engine (C.O.R.E), you can choose the fastest courier partner for your shipping purposes. 


You sure want your products to be safe during transit. But to ensure safety, you must choose the freight service carefully. Shipping via sea is the riskiest, as water transport is often exposed to the perils of the sea. Shipping through roads can be considered safer than railways, as the losses incurred will be less with road transport. The safest form of shipping mode is considered to be air transport. 


All three modes of shipping-land, air, and sea-play a major role in our economy. Each offers benefits that the other mode of transport might not offer. It is up to you to make a well-informed decision of choosing the right shipping mode that will benefit your business.

Why is air transport more expensive than ground transport?

Charges of fuel are more expensive for air transport. Hence, air transport is the most expensive.

How long does it take to ship products via sea transport?

It can take from weeks to months.

Can I ship my individual parcels via sea transport?

Freight transport is usually carried out via sea transportation.

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