Shipping by air comes to our mind the minute someone mentions express shipments, isn’t it? We all know air shipping is the fastest and most reliable shipping option for those looking at shorter delivery times or delivery to remote areas. While it is indeed the best option available, knowing when to use this freight shipping option is very important.
What does Air Shipping Mean? How Does It Work?
As simple as it sounds, when freight / cargo is transported on a commercial or charter carrier it is referred to as air shipping or air freight or air transportation. This can be to domestic locations as well as international locations. It plays a critical role in supply chain efficiency – be it a pharmaceutical company wanting to ship time and temperature sensitive vaccines, manufacturers transporting critical spare parts or retailers using it for high value electronics or products with low shelf life. Shippers usually appoint a 3PL or a freight forwarding company like ProConnect Integrated Logistics to handle their shipments by air.
In air shipping, your goods will be picked up from the origin, could be your warehouse, factory, or office, loaded in a van/truck and taken to the airport. Here the goods will be checked and loaded in the air carrier you have booked with. Once your goods have reached the destination, they will be unloaded from the air carrier, cleared by customs, loaded in the local truck / van and delivered to the destination.
The process seems pretty straightforward, however, consolidating and packing goods, aligning with the compliances to import or export, going by the origin and destination country laws, dealing with customs documents, managing flight schedules, booking your cargo, etc. can be daunting. ProConnect Integrated Logistics undertakes all the hassles, so that you won’t have to.
Types of Air Freight Carriers
You can ship almost anything via air, from mere letter envelopes to huge and heavy equipments. Of course, the carrier types for these will differ – owing to their weight / volume. Air freight can be delivered by
a) Commercial airline carriers – Commercial aircrafts carrying passengers are also capable of carrying your goods in pallets or containers. It can prove to be cost efficient, but it comes with its own set of restrictions. Depending on the type of the aircraft – narrow body or wide body, only specific sized / weight cargo is allowed.
b) Cargo Planes – Cargo aircrafts are designed to move freight. This means you can move small cargo and even heavy equipments – depending on the availability of space. Since they do not have any passengers on board, they can carry hazardous materials as well, which are allowed to be carried by air. Cargo planes come in various sizes, the biggest of them all can carry about 26,000 cubic ft of goods.
c) Charter Planes – They are the best bet when you need to meet tight delivery timelines for critical freight or want to ship to remote locations. Charter planes are assigned for carrying your cargo exclusively, and can be expensive.
Depending on your requirement and your cargo, one of the three types of carriers will be used.
Now that we know all the basics of air shipping, next thing that comes to mind is why choose air freight shipping at all? Our previous post highlights the benefits of air freight and how it can be useful for you.
Remember, though air freight is one of the most reliable and fast shipping method, there is a possibility of delay due to several factors, commonly customs clearance, carrier issues, space availability, etc. Usually, for major cities, shipments reach the destination within 48 hours, for remote locations it could take upto 7 days.
How a 3PL Can Help With Air Freight Shipping?
Though air shipping has its own benefits, it does not come without the shipping hassles one usually faces, documentation being on top of the list. A 3PL or a freight forwarding agent like us can help you make air freight seamless and smooth. Our relationship with air carriers and vast agent network across the world, gives you an advantage of shipping from all the major ports in the world. A 3PL or freight forwarding company is an expert in facilitating air freight and have experience in handling various categories of goods, across numerous regions.
A 3PL also helps with port to port, door to port, or door to door delivery services, as your need maybe. Additionally, we also provide route options, cost saving avenues (thanks to our extensive relation with most major carriers) as per your requirement.
For any air shipping related queries or quotes, enquire with us!