Importing and exporting goods to and from other countries can be an expensive business and choosing the most efficient options is critical.
Air freight remains the costliest choice for businesses but is beneficial if you are transporting a high-value item or need to meet a tight deadline for delivery to your customer. Each year more than 50 million tonnes of goods are shipped in this way to locations all around the world.
What is Air Freight?
Air freight is the moving of goods by plane and is more expensive than shipping by boat or truck. This is normally reserved as a method for specific goods, such as those that are expensive to produce. There are also limits to what can be shipped by plane for obvious reasons, putting restrictions on size and weight.
Most air freight is loaded onto consolidated shipments which means there are goods from a variety of different companies being delivered. Another option is to have your shipment stored in the hold of a scheduled flight. Finally, you can charter an aircraft for your specific purposes, but this can be highly expensive.
The Benefits of Air Freight
The biggest benefit of transporting your goods in this way is the speed of delivery. Your freight can be in the host country within a few hours or days. If goods are shipped by boat, it can take weeks until your goods reach their destination.
The way that air freight is charged can make it a cheaper option too. This is done according to weight rather than size so it’s a good choice for smaller deliveries. It’s important, however, to work with your shipping company to find out which is the cheapest solution for your needs.
If you have valuable or fragile goods, air freight is a more secure method of transportation. Because of the length of time that transporting goods by ship take, it can mean your goods are more at risk of damage.
The Downside of Air Freight
While it’s a good option for quicker delivery and certain types of goods, air freight is a lot more expensive than shipping by sea. You not only need to take into account the cost of shipping but import duty and VAT which can be high in certain countries.
Air freight isn’t always the superfast option you think it is. If you’re using consolidated shipping, you’ll have to wait until the plane is full before it takes off and that can sometimes add days to the delivery time. In addition, there are many more restrictions on what can be transported by air than there are for shipping by sea.
You also need to take into account that transporting by air is the least eco-friendly option.
The Cost of Air Freight
The cost of your delivery will depend on its weight for the most part. If the goods are overly large or awkwardly shaped, then you may need to pay extra.
The most cost-effective options are for goods that fit in standard size unit load devices which generally go in the front half of the plane. Onto the cost of your delivery, however, you will need to add import duty and VAT if this applies to the destination country.