Air freight companies can move your goods quickly and safely, but it's essential to find the right company that has the staff, equipment and expertise to attend to your needs. Be sure to do some research prior to choosing an air freight company. One of the best ways to learn more is to obtain several free quotes for the services you require. Just fill out our easy form and you'll receive up to 5 quotes from reliable freight companies.
Air freight is the fastest way of moving goods, but it also tends to be more expensive than road or sea transport. Which method you choose will depend upon your budget and the urgency of the delivery. About 35% of all internationally sold merchandise is shipped via air cargo. This industry realizes approximately 50 billion USD annually.
You can use an air freight company to transfer your items to domestic or international locations. If you're moving goods regularly, you should pay particular attention to the size of the air freight company's network. How many cities and countries do they service worldwide? And do they have planes going in and out of each airport daily?
Some airlines have a special branch dedicated specifically to air cargo. Other planes are operated by individuals, private companies or even military branches. You'll notice that air freight companies often use special planes designed to carry goods rather than passengers. Adjustments can be made to the windows, flooring and doors of regular passenger planes to make it easier to move pallets in and out and provide ample storage space. Additional aircraft are built exclusively for transporting unit loading devices (ULDs), i.e. pallets or containers. These planes have higher wings and tails, more wheels and a larger, rounder fuselage. Some of these air planes are also temperature-controlled, providing the ideal environment for your sensitive goods. Cargo planes can transport perishable items ranging from food to flora or fauna to human organs for transplant, plus hazardous materials and even animals. Some of this special cargo can also be called "just in time" cargo. A courier may also travel with the goods to ensure safe delivery. This is common practice when rare animals are transported and in this case, someone such as a veterinarian or an animal trainer would be authorized to chaperone.
If you're shipping materials via air freight then you should ensure that the company you use is registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This association operates in 150 countries around the world and represents over 200 airlines. Another group to be aware of is The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), a global non-profit trade organisation at the helm of the air cargo industry. There are also several publications dedicated to this industry, such as Air Cargo World, that can keep you informed of news, events, trends, etc. For instance, the annual AirCargo trade show and conference takes places in March and is essential for the Air and Expedited Motor Carriers Association (AEMCA), the Airforwarders Association (AfA), and the Express Delivery & Logistics Association (XLA).
Your air freight company should also be able to handle all of your documentation and customs clearance. Companies now use electronic tracking mechanisms so you can follow your shipment or manage your inventory online. The future of the cargo industry is paperless.
Finally, you'll most likely want a company that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Then you'll be able to take advantage of additional options such as First Flight Out (FFO) or Next Flight Out (NFO).