Global Air Freight Transportation
Air freight is the most modern and dynamic type of transport, allowing cargo to be transported in the shortest possible time. Due to the specificity of this type of transport. It is used primarily for the transport of perishable goods of high value or urgently needed.
A feature that distinguishes air freight from other means of transport is primarily the time of transport. Cargo transport from China to Europe can take from 3 to about 7 days depending on the selected service, with the average being 5 working days. For comparison, sea transport, in this case, will take about a month. However, this article shows that time savings are associated with relatively high costs.
Tens of millions of tonnes of freight are transported by air each year. At any given time, there are between 8,000 and 20,000 passenger and cargo aircraft over the globe (the number varies depending on the season and day).
Stages Of Air Freight
Air freight is usually outsourced to suitable shipping business. However, it is worth knowing what steps make up the transport process:
- Delivery of cargo from the supplier to the airport;
- Customs clearance at the place of origin;
- Loading and transfer to the destination airport;
- Unloading and customs clearance in the destination country – after verification of the relevant documents and payment of fees, the cargo will be released;
- Transportation of cargo from the airport to the recipient.
Types Of Air Freight
The transport of goods by air freight can be divided primarily due to the way in which it is organized:
Consolidation – many different shipments in one flight. This is the most financially attractive method. However, it may extend the delivery time by several days (due to waiting for the appropriate number of parcels to be collected)
Individual conditions (back-to-back, direct service) – shipments travel in the hold of the scheduled flight. In this case, there are dimensional restrictions. Especially if we are interested in the cheapest option – placing a standard ULD (Unit Load Device) package in the front of the plane (package dimensions approx. 307 x 213 x 193 cm). The advantage here is the possibility of selecting a direct flight to the destination;
Charter – by far the most expensive and the rarest form among small companies, in which the entire plane is rented for the transport of specific cargo, you should pay for a return flight.
The following categories relate to the type of cargo:
Ordinary cargo – goods that are not subject to restrictions, such as clothing, accessories, or some types of electronics;
Special cargo – goods subject to restrictions. i.e. depending on the airline, e.g. lithium-ion batteries, works of art, or power banks, the transport of which may only be allowed under strict supervision and with the consent of the carrier.
Air Freight Charges
The air freight charge is usually based on the fare and weight of the cargo. The exception is when it has non-standard dimensions and a high volume-to-weight ratio. In this case, the volumetric weight will be taken into account. It is counted differently by carriers. For example, as a volume in cubic centimeters divided by 5,000 or volume in cubic meters (CBM) multiplied by 167. So it is usually more cost-effective to ship more “compact” shipments.
In addition, we still have to pay customs and VAT, which are calculated on the sum of the value of the goods and the transport fee. It follows that the tax will be higher in the case of expensive transportation. Therefore, shipping low-value goods by air may prove to be uneconomic.
It is also worth checking what makes up the air freight charge offered by the forwarder. Often, it does not include additional costs, such as a fuel surcharge, that we will be required to pay.
Packing Goods For Air Freight
Appropriate cargo packaging is the basis for its economical and safe delivery. First of all, it is important that the elements inside the package are packed as tightly as possible using various types of fillers, such as polystyrene or sponge. This will prevent individual elements from bumping into each other, and we will not overpay for transporting empty space.
Cargo for air freight can be arranged in the form of individual packages or pallets, with the latter method incurring additional costs.