A Guide to Air Freight: All Importers/Exporters Need to Know
You might think you know all there is to know about air freight. After all, it’s one of the most commonly used transportation methods. But what do you really know about it?
For example, did you know that air freight can be used for both domestic and international shipments? Or that there are a variety of cargo planes out there, each with its capabilities and restrictions?
To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to air freight. So whether you’re new to air freight or just looking to learn more, this guide has you covered.
What Are Air Freight and Air Cargo?
The terms “air freight” and “air cargo” are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually different things. Air cargo is the goods or products that are being transported via air freight. On the other hand, air freight refers to the transportation of those goods or products.
In simpler terms: Air cargo is what you’re shipping. Air freight is how you’re shipping it.
The Advantages of Air Freight
There are a few key advantages that come with using air freight:
More Speed: One of the biggest benefits of air freight is its speed. Compared to other shipping methods, air cargo is by far the quickest way to get your goods from Point A to Point B.
More Reliability: Air freight is also one of the most reliable shipping methods out there. With a global network of carriers and a wealth of experience in moving goods around the world, air cargo is a great option for businesses that need to be sure their international shipments will arrive on time, every time.
Cost-effective: Air freight can also be cost-effective, particularly for smaller shipments. When weighed against the cost of other shipping methods, air cago can be a more affordable way to get your international cargo where they need to go.
More Security: Your international shipments will be packed securely and less likely to be damaged in transit than shipping by other transport methods.
More Destinations: Many cargo-carrying airlines have worldwide networks. Although it’s common to send air freight from China to Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, etc., this mode of transport gives you access to thousands of destinations worldwide. Air freight is a great option for landlocked destinations and remote places.
Less Warehousing: Faster transport times mean less need for warehousing. It’s less necessary to keep a huge amount in stock when you can have more products in as little as a few days.
Less Unnecessary Spending: Not only do you spend less on air freight packaging, warehousing and wasted resources through late/damaged/missing cargo, but air freight also carries lower cargo insurance premiums. Air cargo insurance can be generally lower than sea or road freight as the time in transit is minimal for air cargo, which means huge savings. For companies delivering to customers that charge fines for late deliveries or maintenance engineers that need to meet replacement parts to ensure a production line remains operational, air freight’s reliability and speed could be invaluable.
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The Disadvantages of Air Freight
There are, however, a few disadvantages to consider.
1. Air Freight Cost. The air freight rate is more expensive than the sea freight rate. However, since you benefit from lower air freight insurance and less required air cargo packaging, which means you will save money. It’s also worth knowing that the damage risk is reduced, so there is less chance you will have to repair or replace damaged cargo.
2. Smaller Carrying Capacity. An aircraft has a limited carrying capacity, so air freight is often unsuitable for Importers/Exporters to ship heavy, bulky cargo or goods in a large volume.
3.Air Freight’s Uncertainty. Air freight is very fast, but it’s not always reliable. There can be shipping delays due to weather or other factors beyond your control.
What Are The Different Options of Air Freight?
When shipping goods by air freight, there are three main options: the next flight out, consolidated shipping, and deferred.
Next Flight Out: This is the quickest and most expensive option. Goods are flown out on the next available flight, often within a day or two of ordering.
Consolidated Shipping: This is where multiple consignments are packed into a single shipment, often resulting in lower shipping rates. It can take a little longer than next flight out as the goods need to be collected and then transported to the airport, but it’s a more economical option for those shipping large quantities of goods.
Deferred Air Freight: This is the slowest but cheapest option. Goods are sent on a later flight, often with a transit time of several days or weeks.
– Express Shipping is the fastest and most expensive option. If you need your goods to arrive as quickly as possible, this is your option.
– Standard Air Freight is a middle ground between express and economy. It’s not as fast as express, but also not as slow or inexpensive as the economy.
– Economy Air Freight is the slowest and most inexpensive option. If you’re not in a hurry, this is a great way to save money.
– Air Charter: If you need to ship a large amount of air cargo urgently, you can charter a plane, a quick but expensive way to ship by air freight.
– Air Courier: DHL, UPS, FedEx, TNT – couriers that pick up international cargo from your suppliers, ship it by air, and deliver it to the final destination. Air courier is more expensive than general air freight. If your air shipment is relatively small, e.g., less than 1 cubic meter and 45 kg, it might be best shipped by air courier.
What Are The Different Types of Air Cargo?
When it comes to air cargo, there are two types: general cargo and special cargo.
General cargo is just what it sounds like: any air cargo that doesn’t fall into a special category. This could be anything from food and drink to furniture and appliances. General cargo is typically less sensitive than special cargo, so it can withstand a bit more handling and is less likely to be damaged during transit.
Special cargo, on the other hand, is any type of air cargo that requires extra care or attention. This could be anything from live animals to high-value items like jewelry or electronics. Special cargo is typically more fragile and needs to be handled with extra care to avoid damage.
Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO). CAO refers to any air cargo that can only be carried on a specific aircraft. This could be anything from oversized items to hazardous materials. If your air cargo doesn’t fall into one of the other categories, it’s most likely a CAO shipment.
Dangerous Goods. There are some items that are classified as restricted or prohibited. These items are not allowed on any commercial flight for safety and security reasons. If you’re trying to ship one of these items, you’ll need to use a specialized courier service.
Air freight: Cost and Calculation
Air freight costs are based on a few factors: weight, size and distance. The heavier and larger your shipment is, the more it will cost to transport. And the farther your shipment needs to travel, the more it will cost as well.
But don’t worry, there are tools available to help you calculate the cost of your shipment. Many air freight carriers have online calculators that will help you get an estimate for the cost of shipping by air freight.
Incoterms for Air Freight
There are a few specific Incoterms that are explicitly used for air freight. Here are the most common ones:
• EXW (Ex Works): The seller makes the goods available at their premises, and loading is the responsibility of the buyer.
• FCA (Free Carrier): The seller delivers the goods to the carrier nominated by the buyer.
• CPT (Carriage Paid To): The seller pays for carriage to the destination, but the risk of loss or damage is transferred to the buyer at the point of shipment.
• CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): The seller pays for carriage and insurance to the destination, but the risk of loss or damage is transferred to the buyer at the point of shipment.
• DAP (Delivered At Place): The seller delivers the goods to the buyer’s nominated address and is responsible for unloading.
• DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid): The buyer is responsible for all costs associated with transport, including import duties and taxes.
• DDP (Delivered Duty Paid): The seller is responsible for all costs associated with transport, including import duties and taxes.
The Logistics Chain by Air Freight
What exactly happens when you book air freight services? Well, a lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure your shipment arrives on time and in one piece.
Here’s a quick overview of the logistics chain by air freight:
– Your freight forwarder books space on an aircraft with an airline
– The airline then assigns a tracking number to your shipment
– Your freight is loaded onto the aircraft and flown to its destination
– Once the shipment arrives, it goes through customs clearance
– The shipment is then delivered to you or your consignee
Required Documents for Air Freight
Now that you understand the basics of air freight, let’s move on to the required documents.
A Commercial Invoice, which is a document that itemizes the products being shipped, their value, and other important information. This is used by customs to determine tariffs and taxes.
A Packing List, which is a document that lists all of the items in the shipment, their quantity, and other important information. This is used by customs to ensure everything in the shipment is accounted for.
Air Waybill (AWB), is a document that authorizes the airline to transport the shipment. It includes information like the shipper and recipient’s name and address, the weight and dimensions of the shipment, and other essential details.
Air Freight VS Sea Freight
So what is the difference between air freight and sea freight? Here’s a quick rundown:
– Air freight is faster but more expensive.
– Sea freight is slower but cheaper.
– Air freight is best for time-sensitive shipments.
– Sea freight is best for large shipments.
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Door-to-door Air Freight
Door-to-door air freight is an excellent option if you’re looking for a fast and convenient way to get your international shipment from one country to another.
With door-to-door air freight, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of getting your shipment to and from the airport. Your shipping company will take care of all the details and deliver your international cargo to your door.
China Global Freight offers a wide range of air freight shipping from China services, including multi-modal transportation and door-to-door delivery from China to the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and other Europe countries. Our air freight services help you meet your inventory needs and boost your supply chain efficiency.
Why is China Global Freight the Best to Handle Your Air Freight Needs?
There are many reasons why China Global Freight is the best choice to handle your air freight needs.
1. We have a team of experienced professionals who know the ins and outs of the air freight industry. We’re also familiar with the Chinese market and can provide you with the best rates and services to meet your needs.
2. We have a strong network of partners in China, which means we can offer you a wide range of services and products. And, of course, we’re always here to answer any questions about air freight and air cargo.
3. We’re a proven, reliable freight forwarder in China who will treat your air shipment with the utmost care and respect. A professional China freight forwarder with a network of contacts and resources to ensure your international air shipment is delivered on time and within budget.
4. China Global Freight’s worldwide air freight solutions feature multiple carriers and suppliers that help us deliver expedited cargo at competitive freight rates.
We have a mission to become the most respected China Freight Forwarder that accommodates reliable freight forwarding services with hassle-free delivery.
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