Air freight, also known as air cargo, is the transportation of goods and products via aeroplane. This method of transportation is considered one of the fastest and most efficient ways to move goods across the globe.
TYPES OF AIR FREIGHT
There are several types of air freight, including:
This is the most common form of air freight and refers to the transportation of goods by commercial airlines. Air cargo can be shipped as consolidated cargo, where multiple shipments are grouped together, or as individual shipments.
This type of air freight involves the rental of an entire aircraft to transport goods. This is typically used for large or oversized shipments, or for shipments that need to be delivered to remote locations.
This type of air freight is used for time-sensitive shipments, such as documents, medical supplies, and other goods that need to be delivered quickly. Air express shipments are typically shipped on dedicated cargo planes and have a faster transit time compared to traditional air cargo.
This type of air freight is used for the transportation of letters, postcards, and other mail items. Airmail is typically shipped on commercial passenger flights and has a slower transit time compared to other types of air freight.
Air Freight Forwarding:
This type of air freight involves the use of a third-party logistics provider that arranges the transportation of goods by air on behalf of their customers. Freight forwarders like SWL Logistics handle all aspects of the shipment, including customs clearance, documentation, and insurance.
This service is used when a shipper has a small number of goods to be shipped, but the goods are consolidated with other shippers’ goods to fill an entire cargo container. This type of service is typically used by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that don’t have enough goods to fill a container on their own.
Advantages of Air freight
High speed –
One of the biggest advantages of air freight is speed. Aeroplanes can cover large distances in a relatively short amount of time, making them a great option for urgent or time-sensitive shipments. This is particularly useful for businesses that need to move perishable goods, such as food and medical supplies, as well as high-value items like electronics or jewellery.
Access to harder locations –
Another advantage of air freight is the ability to reach remote or hard-to-access locations. Aeroplanes can fly to destinations that may be difficult to reach by sea or land, making it a great option for businesses looking to expand into new markets.
- Reliability: Air freight is a reliable shipping method with a high on-time delivery rate.
- Safety: Air freight is considered one of the safest modes of transportation as air cargo is well-screened and inspected prior to loading on the aircraft.
- Flexibility: Air freight allows for the shipment of a wide range of goods, including fragile, perishable, and hazardous items.
Disadvantages of Air freight
Air freight can also be more expensive than other methods of transportation, such as ocean freight or ground transport.
Air freight is generally more expensive than other forms of shipping, making it less cost-effective for low-value or low-priority goods.
Air freight has a high carbon footprint due to the fuel consumption of aeroplanes, which can be a concern for companies and consumers looking to reduce their environmental impact.
Limited to specific types of goods:
Air freight is limited to specific types of goods, such as those that are not too heavy or too large, and comply with the regulations of the airline and authorities.
Air freight can be affected by weather conditions, such as storms and turbulence, which can cause delays or cancellations.
Limited cargo space:
Some destinations may have limited cargo space on flights, which can cause delays or increased costs.
Air freight may not be accessible to certain remote areas or countries with limited air transportation infrastructure.
Risk of damage or loss:
Although safety and security are high, there is always a risk of damage or loss of goods during air transportation.
What can be shipped by air?
While nearly anything can be transported by air, two factors speed and expenditure tend to determine what’s generally sent by air. Here are the most common goods shipped by air:
- Perishable goods: Fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and other perishable items can be shipped by air to maintain their freshness and quality.
- High-value goods: Jewellery, electronics, and other high-value items are often shipped by air to minimise the risk of loss or damage.
- Hazardous materials: Hazardous materials, such as chemicals and explosives, can be shipped by air with proper packaging and labelling.
- Time-sensitive goods: Goods that have a short shelf life or are needed for time-sensitive projects, such as medical supplies, can be shipped by air to ensure they are delivered quickly.
- Personal: Personal items, such as clothing and household goods, can be shipped by air for people moving or travelling.
- Industrial goods: Raw materials, machinery, and other industrial goods can be shipped by air for manufacturing and other industrial purposes.
What cannot be shipped by air?
There are certain items that cannot be shipped by air because of safety, security, and regulatory reasons. Some examples include:
- Hazardous materials: Many items that are considered hazardous, such as flammable liquids, explosives, and radioactive materials, are prohibited from being shipped by air.
- Fire Arms, weapons, and ammunitions: These items are strictly prohibited from being shipped by air.
- Illegal drugs and controlled substances: These items are illegal and cannot be shipped by air.
- Live animals: Some live animals, such as certain breeds of dogs, are prohibited from being shipped by air.
- Food items: Some food items, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, are prohibited from being shipped by air because of the potential to spread disease or pests.
- Counterfeit or pirated goods: Counterfeit or pirated goods are illegal and cannot be shipped by air.
It’s important to note that these restrictions may vary depending on the airline, the country of origin and destination, and other specific regulations. It is always best to check with the specific airline or freight forwarder for a list of prohibited items and ensure that the goods being shipped comply with the regulations.
At SWL, our consultants are available to assist you 24×7, so that you have no queries left about shipping through the air.
As with all international shipping, customs clearance procedures must always be anticipated and properly documented. Working with a trustworthy Logistics provider ensures that all aspects of your freight are covered, from expedited service through customs clearance and shipment delivery.
At SWL, we offer end-to-end logistics for all your shipments. We are well-equipped to handle all of your logistics needs, from air freight to sea freight, warehousing to transportation, trucking and customs clearance. With more than 17 years of experience and expertise, we can help you navigate the complexities of international trade and ensure that your goods are delivered on time and in perfect condition. Choose SWL Logistics, and you can be confident that your logistics needs are in good hands.
Air freight is a fast and efficient way to move goods across the globe, especially for time-sensitive and high-value shipments. It can be more expensive than other methods of transportation, but it can also reach remote or hard-to-access locations. It’s important to choose the right provider like SWL Logistics and consider the type of goods, destination, and the delivery time frame when selecting air freight.