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What Are the Best Air Freight Companies?

Are you looking for a fast, reliable way to ship essential freight? If so, then air freight companies offer the perfect solution. However, not every shipping service is right for every business.

With that in mind, the team at Freight Waves has cut through the noise and identified the top 10 air freight companies. In addition, we answer common questions you may have about freight.

How Do Air Freight Companies Work?

Shipping air freight is a relatively straightforward process. A logistics service provider will coordinate pickup with a local carrier. The carrier will respond to your warehouse and take possession of your shipment. The freight will then be delivered to the airport and loaded on a plane for delivery.

Things to Consider with an Air Freight Company

If you have never utilized an air freight company before, you might not know what to look for when you’re choosing a shipping partner. When you’re reviewing air freight companies, make sure to consider the following factors.

Quick Delivery Time

The largest appeal of air freight is speed. When you’re selecting a shipping partner, find out who offers the fastest delivery times.

Reliable Reputation

Getting your materials delivered quickly does you no good if the product is damaged in the process. That is why you need to make sure that an air freight company has a reputation for being reliable.

Wide Reach

The “reach” of air freight companies refers to their service area. Do they specialize in continental deliveries? Do they offer global shipping? Make sure that the provider can handle all of your shipping needs.

Up-to-Date Licensing

Air freight is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. Air freight providers must have up-to-date licensing in order to be in compliance with these regulations. If your provider’s licensing is out of date, then your freight may be delayed.

Issue Handling

Even the most efficient air freight companies can still make mistakes. That is why it is important to find out how each provider handles issues as they arise.

Shipping Rates

Air freight rates are calculated by volumetric or actual weight. When you’re considering which company to partner with, find out who offers the best shipping rates.

Traceability

Does the air freight company have an easy tracking platform? Make sure to find out before choosing a shipping provider.

10 Best Air Freight Companies

Now that you know what to look for in an aerial transporter, it is time to break down the top 10 air freight companies in existence today. Our list includes:

Hellman Worldwide Logistics

Best For:  Global Shipping

Hellman Worldwide Logistics provides global freight solutions via air, sea, road, and rail resources.

Location: Osnabruck, Germany

Employees: 10,696

Company Founded: 1871

Shipping Rates: Varies by item type and shipping option

Air Freight: 595,300 metric tons (2019)

Estimated Revenue: $2.7 billion (2019)

Special Features

  • Sea-to-air shipping (utilizes both options to cut costs)
  • Industry-specific solutions

Benefits

  • Reliable
  • Global service area
  • Flexible shipping options

Disadvantages

  • Pricier than some options

Kintetsu World Express 

Best For: Custom Solutions

KWE is another global air freight provider. They offer virtually every shipping solution imaginable.

Location: Minato City, Tokyo, Japan

Employees: 18,140

Company Founded: 1948

Shipping Rates: Based on shipping options

Air Freight: 600,849 metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $5.3 billion

Special Features

  • Regional offices in multiple countries
  • User-friendly tracking
  • Overnight shipping options

Benefits

  • Great industry reputation
  • Fast
  • Provides unique air freight solutions

Disadvantages

  • Expensive

DSV 

Best For: Transporting Specialized Equipment

DSV employs roughly 60,000 people across 80 countries, resulting in a massive freight transportation network.

Location: Hedehusene, Denmark

Employees: Approximately 60,000

Company Founded: 1976

Shipping Rates: Obtain a quote online

Air Freight: 689,000 metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $11.39 billion

Special Features

  • Online booking
  • Self-service options
  • Warehouse management

Benefits

  • Obtain quotes rapidly online
  • Easy shipment tracking

Disadvantages

  • Can be tough to connect with agents via phone

Bollore Logistics 

Best For: High Volume Recurring Shipping

If you need to ship a particularly high volume of freight on a regular basis, Bollore Logistics is a great option.

Location: Puteaux, France

Employees: 35,000

Company Founded: 1986

Shipping Rates: Contact for quotes

Air Freight: 574,000 Metric Tons

Estimated Revenue: $24.84 billion

Special Features

  • Largest transport network in Africa
  • Trade compliance specialists

Benefits

  • Affordable when transporting large volumes
  • Agile supply chain solutions

Disadvantages

  • Single shipping options are expensive

Nippon Express 

Best For: Growing Businesses

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Employees: 73,549

Company Founded: 1937

Shipping Rates: Depends on destination and cargo size/type

Air Freight: Approximately 900,000 metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $16 billion

Special Features

  • State-of-the-art logistics tech

Benefits

  • Great customer service
  • Solutions for small businesses

Disadvantages

  • Better options available for large supply chains

UPS Supply Chain Solutions 

Best For: Domestic Solutions

While UPS is a global air freight provider, they are one of the few on our list that is headquartered in the U.S.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Employees: 543,000

Company Founded: 1988

Shipping Rates: Contact for quote

Air Freight: 935,000 metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $13 billion

Special Features

  • User-friendly app
  • Customizable solutions

Benefits

  • Exceptional customer service
  • Strong reputation
  • Fast shipping options

Disadvantages

  • Not the cheapest solution 

Expeditors 

Best For: Supply Chain Solutions

Expeditors is another U.S. air freight company that provides excellent supply chain solutions. 

Location: Seattle, Washington

Employees: 18,000+

Company Founded: 1979

Shipping Rates: Must request quote online

Air Freight: Over 1 million metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $8.1 billion

Special Features

  • Easy freight tracking
  • Advanced route planning practices

Benefits

  • Great for meeting tight deadlines
  • Money-saving options via intermodal shipping
  • Excellent customer service

Disadvantages

  • Expedited air freight is expensive

DB Schenker USA 

Best For: Large Companies

DB Schenker USA is one of the largest supply chain logistic services in the U.S.

Location: Miami, USA

Employees: 72,000

Company Founded: 2007

Shipping Rates: Obtain a quote online

Air Freight: Over 1.3 million metric tons

Estimated Revenue: Approximately $17.7 billion

Special Features

  • Connect 4.0 software
  • Works with virtually every industry

Benefits

  • High volume of air freight
  • Massive supply chain network

Disadvantages

  • More affordable options for small businesses

Kuehne + Nagel 

Best For: International, Large Volume Shipping

K+N has more than 300 global air freight teams throughout the world. They can handle even the largest supply chain shipping demands.

Location: Feusisberg, Switzerland

Employees: 78,249

Company Founded: 1890

Shipping Rates: Varies

Air Freight: 1.7 million metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $19 billion

Special Features

  • Operates in over 100 countries
  • 1400 facilities

Benefits

  • Leverages latest innovations
  • Great customer service
  • Can meet the needs of specialized industries

Disadvantages

  • Not the best option for regional, small volume shipping 

DHL Supply Chain 

Best For: Any Air Freight

DHL is a true do-it-all air freight company. They can handle everything from small shipping tasks to massive supply chain volume.

Location: Bonn, Germany

Employees: 508,000

Company Founded: 1969

Shipping Rates: Obtain a quote online

Air Freight: 2,150,000 metric tons

Estimated Revenue: $15.1 billion

Special Features

  • Advanced mapping software
  • Over 1,400 warehouses

Benefits

  • Largest global network
  • Storage solutions
  • Expertise in transporting all types of freight

Disadvantages

  • More affordable options are available from other providers

Choosing the Right Air Freight Provider

The 10 air freight companies outlined above all have an exceptional industry reputation. Each company excels at meeting specific air freight shipping needs. By assessing each choice using the criteria discussed, you can find the best air freight provider for your shipping needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum weight for air freight?

The maximum weight of air freight will vary depending on the type of aircraft that a provider uses.

How is air freight cost calculated?

Air freight cost is calculated by chargeable weight. Depending on the provider, chargeable weight may be volumetric or actual weight.

Is sea freight cheaper than air freight?

Yes, sea freight is significantly cheaper than air freight. However, air freight is faster and more reliable.

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