Shipping by air cargo – tips and hints

Although the vast majority of shipping is done via ocean freight, shipping by air cargo has its advantages. The text in front of you will go into detail, further explaining the intricacies that follow such an undertaking. However, before diving into advanced tips and hints, we must first introduce ourselves with the item at hand.

The main differences between air and ocean freight

  1. Air freight is a better choice when the cost of shipping is less than 15-20% of the value of the goods.
  2. Ocean freight comes with more capacity and value, with one container holding up to 10,000 beer bottles.
  3. Air freight is faster, safer and more reliable. However, it comes with a price in a literal sense. An ocean shipment with the price tag of $195 would cost $1,000 if shipped via air. Having said that, ocean freight is much slower while customs issues and port holdups can cause additional delays.
  4. Airlines have stricter regulations regarding shipping hazardous materials.
  5. Ocean freight comes with a much better carbon footprint than air freight.
A view of ocean boats from inside a plane
The best decision depends on your preferences and possibilities

The costs that come with shipping by air cargo

What is important noting from the get-go is that weight and volume are key factors when it comes to air freight. Boueri Freight Services, like other companies that offer the same services, differentiate volumetric weight and the actual weight. Volumetric weigh, also spoken of as dimensional weight is best calculated as follows: multiply the item’s volume in cubic meters by 167. To illustrate this further, say that you have a package that is 40cm high, 40cm long and 40cm wide. You would multiply those measures and divide the product by one million. Thus, we arrive at 0.064. Now we multiply by 167 and get a volumetric weight of 10.67 kg. Simple as that. Now, the air carriers charge depending on which of the two is more expensive. If the volumetric weight exceeds the actual weight of the product, the company will charge you the volumetric one. The Internet offers various weight calculators that ought to help you work out whether your shipment will be charged by actual weight or dimensional weight.

Reasons to choose air freight

  • The luxury of speed. Think about it. Ocean liners are about 30 times slower than airplanes. There are various transit time calculators on the Internet, that can show you the estimates of transit times, based on recent shipments. When creating your calculus, do not forget to include the price difference as well. Air freight is generally 16x the price of ocean freight and 5x the price of trucking.
  • People appreciate reliability. Freight market has come a long way, all by listening to its faithful customers. Dependable freight services combined with better air freight data movement have made shipping by air cargo the most reliable option. You are guaranteed a better air freight tracking as well as the knowledge that your goods will get to the right place at the right time.
  • Security and protection. Even though the ocean piracy is declining, your belongings are still easier to get damaged while on a boat than on a plane. Air freight offers a more secure transport.
A bunch of wooden clocks
Is time of importance to you? If so, shipping by air cargo is the way to go.

Reasons not to

  • Money is the biggest factor. This is one of the main things you ought to keep in mind. If you plan on moving to Lebanon all the way from Suriname, it can cost you a pretty penny.
  • CO2 emissions. For all of you members of the green movement, this might be an issue. When compared to other means of shipment, this one is by far the least environmentally friendly one.
  • Not easy on the heavy shipments. While freight shipping has largely been based on shipping containers, making it great for transporting large and heavy items, air freight differs. The price you get is based on both size and weight.

Additional things to look out for

Propper packaging

It has probably crossed your mind that the journey your belongings will have will be a rather onerous one. Even more so if you plan on having an international shipment. Your stuff will be handled multiple times, by multiple hands. It will endure cross-docking phases and other processes that pose as a threat of damage. So, it’s best to invest into some quality packing material, and get loads of it. Besides sturdy boxes, try to acquire ample amounts of padding and plastic wrap. Do not restrain from over padding your belongings since it’s virtually impossible.

Check the measurements, and do so again

It is of utmost importance that you get your measurements right. Besides avoiding additional fees, you are also ensuring that the plane doesn’t run out of fuel. Exact measurements are used in estimating airplane fuel usage. If the cargo information you provided is inconsistent with what is weighed at customs, a need for carrier verification arrises, resulting in your freight being held over.

Measuring tape
You know what they say – measure twice, cut (or in this case ship with no delay) once.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

Domestic shipping somewhat differs from air freight, and it can be seen clearly when it comes to paperwork. When shipping by air cargo, there are some special documents to keep in mind. So, it’s best that you do some proper research. If you find yourself confused or unsure, consult your third-party logistics provider. After receiving your answers, you should get an idea about completing the commercial invoice. Not to scare you, this regards adding up the total actual market value of your goods and their Harmonized Tariff Schedule code, which is used to classify and define internationally traded goods.


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