What it means to air ship goods

Air Shipping

Air shipping refers to the transfer and shipment of goods, parcel, or merchandise through an air carrier which may be chartered air carrier or a commercial air carrier.

These shipments are transported away from passengers or aviation gateways to places where these aircraft can fly and land.

This method of shipping is preferred by global importers and exporters when goods are to be transported rapidly, very fast and reliably.

Goods transported in an aircraft is referred to as Air Cargo and it comprises of air express, mail, and air freight.

Air freight involves an express delivery which connects the world faster. Although 85% to 90% of goods are shipped by ocean, air shipping takes only 3-days to get to the destination that ocean shipping may take 20 to 30 days to reach.

International air freight and express freight shipments are two different things in shipping.

International air freight shipments are larger sized shipments which may be handled by multiple carriers throughout the shipping period, whereas, express freight may be handled by one company which takes care of the entire shipment cycle from the supplier to the end-user and from door to door.

Shipments involved in express freight are usually smaller when compared to shipments in international air freight.

Goods Shipped by Air Freight

Since air cargo is expensive, it is better to ship smaller or high-value items such as:

  • Electronics – This item is best shipped by air since this type of shipping is safe
  • Clothing – Trending and seasonal clothing may become outdated or not useful for its purpose again if not shipped fast from factories to stores and end-users as quickly as possible
  • Pharmaceuticals – Medical goods are best shipped by air because of their value and size
  • Documents – Classified documents are shipped by air since it is cost-effective
  • Seasonal shipments – Seasonal products with high international demand are best shipped by air.

Cost of Shipping by Air

When it comes to air shipping, volume and weight of shipments are key determinants. Air carriers charge by dimensional weight (volumetric weight) or by the actual weight of the item depending on which is more expensive.

This means that, if the volumetric or dimensional weight of the product is more than the actual weight, the volumetric weight will be the chargeable weight.

Air freight price will also likely include:

  • Security charges
  • Fuel surcharges
  • Airport transfers
  • Terminal handling charges

In addition, for door-to-door delivery, the price will also include:

  • Pick up and final delivery charge
  • Customs Brokerage
  • Accessories charge
  • Cargo Insurance

Due to all these charges and a high price associated with air cargo shipments, most companies involved in national and international trade, imports and exports, always take advantage of the cheap ocean rates, using air shipping for very urgent shipments.

Advantages of Air Freight Shipping

  • Express Delivery – Air shipping gives an express delivery option which makes it a valuable option for transporting time-sensitive shipments to anywhere in the world. It is best used by smaller and medium-sized companies as they are able to partake in international trade effectively.
  • Security – A high level of protection/security of shipments is maintained at the airport and cargo control is tightly managed.
  • Reliability – Shipping by air provides better shipment tracking as goods will get to the destination at the appropriate time.

Disadvantages of Air Freight Shipping

  • Cost – Air freight may be a better option for international shipments but it comes with a heavy price tag.
  • Emissions –Air freight also leads to more CO2 emissions compared to ocean shipping. So, it is absolutely not the greenest way to ship.
  • Heavy shipments – From inception, freight shipping always involve large shipping containers used for transporting large, heavy items and since air freight price is calculated based on size and weight, the price can be very high.

Expansion of Air Freight Shipping

Air freight shipping is used in conjunction with other forms of shipping, like ground, rail, marine and it is widely adopted as one of the best delivery options for imports and exports.

It is now recognized as the most efficient means of shipping both nationally and internationally.

Managing Air Freight with Custom Brokers

When coordinating shipments using air freight, the most reliable, safe and cost-effective means can be determined by a logistics company.

A custom broker can negotiate the different options available and determine the best fit to ensure an on-time and expedient delivery.

Since international shipments involve custom clearance, a custom broker for your shipping will ensure that all freight management are documented and covered, from the shipping through customs clearance to delivery.