Air freight transportation is one of the simplest forms of cargo shipping but there are essentials you need to understand before considering it for your next cargo shipment. Read our blog to learn more about how air freight works and what you should keep an eye out for.
What is Air Freight?
Air freight is the movement of cargo via aircraft. Of all the types of freight shipments, air freight shipments are the best way to get your cargo where it needs to arrive because it is the fastest process of all the options (for most types of cargo going a significant distance). Because it is so fast compared to other shipment types, it is typically more expensive so if you are on a tight budget, be sure to consult your logistics manager about pricing upfront.
Benefits with Air Freight
Moving cargo via aircraft is almost always going to be the quickest, most efficient way to get your cargo where it needs to be in no time. Air freight requires less planning and logistics work as other types of shipments because there are less stops along the way, as compared to most ships or trucks that are making several stops for different shipments.
For smaller items, air freight can also be more cost effective than other types of shipping. Most planes have plenty of space for smaller items like small parcels and if you are shipping many of them, air freight can be the cheapest option to get each of your parcels to their destination. You are charged based on the weight of your shipment so it can very easily be your best option for smaller cargo. Also, it is often the preferred method of shipping for fragile or sensitive items, as there is less moving around and packing and re-packing of spaces than there is with other forms of shipping.
Air can also be one of the more reliable forms of freight shipping. Because many planes are working on a meticulous schedule, there is almost always a commercial plane going where your packages need to go within a reasonable amount of time. Working off someone else’s schedule can get tricky when you have tight restrictions on where and when something needs to arrive but because commercial planes run so frequently, most shipments are able to make it work on the existing schedule.
Challenges with Air Freight
As with all types of freight shipping methods, there are challenges that come with air freight. There are plenty of scenarios where air freight is not a good option for shipping your cargo so it’s important to work with a trusted logistics manager who will be able to advise you on the best method.
For items larger than small parcels, it is likely to be the most expensive form of shipping out of all your options. The value of your cargo will also be taken into account for the total price so it can get expensive very quickly to ship valuable cargo via aircraft. What’s known as “consolidated freight” is the most common way to ship via aircraft but that means the plane won’t leave until it has been filled so sometimes, it can take longer than anticipated to reach your final destination.
You will also be more limited on which items can be transported when going by aircraft. There are tighter regulations over what can be shipped through air freight than by truck or ship, making it more restrictive than other forms of shipping. If you have any cargo on the unaccepted list, you must chose another form of shipping.
Finally, air freight shipping by far the least eco-friendly so if your company has regulations around your emissions, air freight probably won’t be the option for you.
Is Air Freight Right for You?
If after reading through the pros and cons of air freight shipping you still aren’t sure if air freight is right for your shipping needs, the best way to find out is to talk to a logistics manager directly. Contact us today with any questions you may have. You can also get a free quote on your upcoming shipment!