Most of the world’s shipping goes via the sea and there’s good reason for this because it’s generally the cheapest option for businesses.

The downside of sending freight by boat is that it takes much longer to deliver. While this works for some goods, if your business needs to get a delivery to a customer more quickly the obvious option is to send it by air. Around the world, we transport more than 60 million tonnes of goods each year which represents around 1% of all global trade.

The cost of air freight for businesses is always likely to be a concern but for more immediate deliveries it’s the perfect option. The cost can vary depending on the type of freight you need to transport and the type of shipping you choose.

The freight forwarding company that you work with is also important – some only carry air freight to a limited selection of countries such as China, the USA and Australia. Here we look at the main aspects that are likely to affect the cost of air shipping for your business.

Air Freight Shipping

There are four air freight categories: Standard, express, charter and deferred.

  • Standard freight shipping: This is the most used service by businesses, and it generally means that your freight can be loaded on different aircraft at different locations before it finally reaches its destination. It usually costs less but does take a bit longer.
  • Express: If you need to get goods to their destination quickly, express delivery offers more direct routes. It is, however, the more expensive option.
  • Charter: If you need to transport multiple goods then standard freight shipping is not an option because of the limitations on space. Chartering a plane is the better option but is likely to be extremely costly.
  • Deferred: If you are looking for a cheaper option, deferred shipping could be a good choice. Non-priority goods are essentially postponed until space is available on an aircraft.

Costing Air Freight

Apart from the type of shipping the biggest factor in costing an air freight delivery is normally the weight of the goods. Unlike shipping by sea, aircraft are limited in the amount of freight that can be carried during any one flight. Some freight forwarders also charge per item as well as the weight which can affect the overall cost.

On top of the shipping cost, there may well be other charges to take into account when delivering abroad by air. This can include airport fees when transporting goods from one plane to another, warehousing, cargo insurance and customs and documentation fees.

To most countries, air freight should take between 1 and 3 days at the most but much will depend on the type of service you choose. Each country may also have additional costs associated with them so it’s worth finding out about these before you decide on which goods you want to transport by air.

It’s important to work with your freight forwarder, like Equator Worldwide, to find the most economical and expedient method of delivering your goods.

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