Available means of transportation and transit time

It is crucial for every importer that the goods imported by him reach their destination within a designated time. Depending on which means of transportation we choose, the length of the transit time changes. TT (transit time) is the tame needed for a shipment to be delivered after being picked up from its check-in place. It includes both the transport time and the time spent on all loading activities. We present how the transit time length changes depending on the chosen means of transport.

Air transportation transit time

When choosing the most convenient means of transportation for the delivery of our goods, it is worth considering air transport. Although this is indeed the most expensive option available, it is definitely the safest and the fastest one. The time of delivery of the shipment by air, taking into account transcontinental flights may take from several hours to about 7 days. For example, the transport of goods from China to a store in the United Kingdom will take about 5-6 days.

Air transportation is a perfect choice for the delivery of goods such as flowers, groceries, and pharmaceuticals. It is also often used to transport luxury cars, jewelry, and furniture. The use of air freight guarantees not only the high speed of product delivery but also safety. This is indicated by a very low accident rate, e.g. due to the lack of the possibility of a collision, as is in the case of road transport. 

Sea transportation transit time

Sea transport is marked by a long transit time which, depending on the distance between the ports, takes approximately 15 to 65 days. For example, containers traveling by sea from Shenzhen in China will arrive in Miami in 35-41 days. The shipment, which will depart from the port in the American city of Detroit, will reach Gothenburg in Sweden also in about 32 days.

Sea transit is chosen mainly by importers who care primarily about financial savings, and not the fastest possible delivery of goods. One of the main advantages of sea transportation is the load capacity of this type of transport. It is the largest available among all of the means of transport. It also offers the possibility of transporting all types of products, due to the variety of specialized vessels, as well as the wide selection of containers. The accident rate for sea transport is greater than that of air transport, but it is still one of the safest options for transporting goods.

Rail transportation transit time

Rail transport is distinguished by shorter transit time than for sea transportation, but longer than by air. Carriage of goods by rail usually lasts from a few to several days. This time will vary depending on the length of the traveled route. For instant, a train departing from the terminal in the Chinese city of Yantai will reach Germany in 21 days, via Poland.

Transporting goods by rail, especially over long distances, can be a perfect alternative to both means of transportation discussed above. It is because it is more beneficial in terms of price than air transit and time-saving than delivery by a ship. We will also be able to transport a much larger load by rail than by road. Moreover, rail transportation has a low impact on environmental degradation.

Road transportation transit time

Road transport is the transport of cargo or passengers by road using wheeled means of transport. The delivery time with this measure is relatively short and takes from a few to several days, but it also changes depending on the length of the route. A crucial route for this type of transport is the E65 from the Swedish city of Malmö to Chania in Greece. The total time to complete it takes about 40 hours. It leads, among others, through a Polish city – Świnoujście, where it uses the ferry connection from Ystad.

Road transportation is often chosen due to favorable prices. Its greatest advantages are the most extensive road network and its directness. It enables food to be delivered straight to their destination. In many cases, road transit is merely a complement to other means of transport. Shipments are often delivered, for example, by sea to a port then by road to the final destination. The biggest disadvantages of this measure are the high accident rate and energy consumption, as well as the negative impact on the natural environment.


Before we start importing goods, we should define the most important factors for us regarding its delivery. If we want the shortest possible transit time, we should pay attention to the expensive but fastest air freight. If low costs are our priority and time is not so important, it is worth considering sea transportation.

The alternatives to them are rail and road transport. When using them, the delivery time is much shorter than that offered by sea transport, but the price is higher. However, compared to air freight, the transit takes slightly longer, while the costs are lower.

When choosing the means of transportation, one should always remember to distinguish between door-to-door delivery time and transit time. Transit time only includes the time of delivery of goods from port to port, excluding transport to the warehouse. We must pay attention to the fact that the total transit time may be extended by the time the goods are collected from the port and delivered to their destination. Information on the exact door-to-door delivery time and transit time are available from our forwarder.

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