How it works
Air freight involves transporting goods by airplane. Shippers book space with air cargo carriers. Cargo is loaded onto specialized pallets. These pallets are then loaded into the cargo area of the plane. The plane flies to the destination airport. Upon arrival, the cargo is unloaded and goes through customs, if international. Finally, the goods are collected by the receiver or delivered by a logistics provider.
Air freight / airfreight cargo types
Different air cargo types often require specialized handling, documentation, and containers. Understanding these types can help you choose the most suitable and cost-effective shipping method.
Foods, flowers, and certain pharmaceuticals are examples. Time is of the essence for perishables, and temperature-controlled environments are often required. Delays can result in spoilage and financial losses.
Chemicals, explosives, and flammable materials need specialized handling and are subject to strict regulations. Proper documentation and labeling are mandatory, and only trained personnel manage these shipments.
High-value items like gold, jewelry, and artworks require enhanced security measures. These might include guarded storage areas, special containers, and additional insurance coverage.
Pets, zoo animals, and livestock necessitate specialized care, including temperature-controlled environments and proper ventilation. Animal welfare is a priority, and regulations are stringent.
Oversized or heavy freight
Large machinery, construction equipment, and vehicles often exceed standard dimensions or weight limits. Special arrangements, like chartering larger planes or securing extra space, may be necessary.
Time-sensitive or courier shipments
Small, time-sensitive packages like legal documents or medical samples. These usually involve door-to-door services and are handled by specialized courier companies, often at a premium price.
Pharmaceuticals, biological samples, and chemicals may need climate-controlled conditions. Special containers and real-time temperature monitoring are often used to maintain product integrity.
Relief supplies like food, water, and medical equipment are shipped to disaster-stricken areas. These shipments often get priority handling and may be subject to reduced fees or expedited processing.
Bulk postal items, like letters and small parcels, are usually transported in secure containers. These items don't typically require special handling or conditions, making them the most straightforward to ship.
Items like computer chips, data servers, and scientific instruments require careful handling to avoid damage. Packaging may include anti-static materials, and security is often tighter due to the high value.
Fashion and textiles
Clothing and accessories often have tight schedules to meet seasonal or fashion-week deadlines. Speed is crucial, and direct routes are often chosen to minimize transit time.
Explore your options
Now that you've gained an understanding of air freight cargo and its various types and benefits, if you're considering using this shipping method, there are numerous reputable providers to choose from, such as FedEx, UPS Air Cargo, and DHL.
These companies are leaders in the air freight industry, offering a range of solutions tailored to different cargo types and shipping needs. Leveraging their expertise and services can give you access to fast, reliable, and secure shipping options, helping you effectively manage your supply chain and meet your logistical goals.