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If you need to send goods from one side of the globe to the other quickly, standard ocean freight won’t cut it. Air freight is the fastest and safest way to transport merchandise internationally.

While ocean freight is the most common type of international transport in the logistics industry, planes are another convenient way to transport cargo around the world. They are often the fastest way to get your goods where they need to go. Air freight is a lot more expensive than other types of transport, but it is often the best option, particularly for time-sensitive deliveries.

Many businesses that engage in international trade use freight forwarders to facilitate shipping by air. Importing and exporting goods via air freight isn’t just a matter of loading items onto a plane and sending them to an overseas buyer. It is much more complex and involves several critical tasks, such as handling legal documentation, paying additional fees and tariffs, international banking procedures, warehousing and storage, and more.

Businesses must execute all steps carefully to ensure legal compliance (locally and internationally) and to reduce the risk of customs delays or merchandise confiscation.

Air freight forwarders specialize in the complexities of international trade. Using the knowledge and skill of an experienced freight forwarder can save you time and money when transporting goods by ensuring that everything is taken care of legally and that all the required paperwork and documentation is submitted on time.

What is a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder is an independent company or individual specializing in handling the storage and shipping of goods on behalf of businesses. Freight forwarders often provide a host of logistics services, from the initial preparation of documents to delivering products to customers’ doors. They often play a key role in supply chain management and in dealing with logistics companies. Some of the key roles carried out by international freight forwarders include:

  • Domestic and overseas licensing
  • Preparation of cargo and essential documents
  • Inventory management and warehousing
  • Handling custom brokerage
  • Legal compliance with local and overseas governments
  • Fulfillment services
  • Local drayage services
  • International banking
  • Other supply chain solutions

Air Freight Forwarders Can Make International Shipping Possible

Although freight forwarders provide a range of logistics services and take responsibility for the distribution of merchandise on behalf of businesses, they don’t physically handle or transport items. Instead, they are intermediary experts that work with the client and carrier to find the best solutions. While understanding the importance of good customer service, freight forwarders have the knowledge and abilities to help your business adapt and succeed in the rapidly changing economic and political climates.

As a specialist service, air freight forwarders have contacts, networks, and partners in the industry, allowing them to get the best possible air freight rates and deals on behalf of their customers. Their relationships with courier services, airlines, and other important service providers allow their clients to gain a competitive edge in their industry. Without the help of an international air freight forwarder, overseas shipping might not be possible for many businesses.

Air Freight Logistics Keeps Shippers Compliant

International air cargo, particularly in the United States, is heavily regulated. With specific demands from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), freight forwarding experts with in-depth knowledge of air transportation services are essential. There is no guarantee that a shipment will go to plan, and experienced forwarders are the best people to deal with any potential issues you may encounter. Some of the key problems air freight forwarder can solve include:

  • Dealing with nuanced policies or regulations in the destination country
  • Navigating the marketplace during currency fluctuations or inflation
  • Awareness of cultural obstacles (e.g., holidays, traditions, processes, and social norms)
  • Overcoming language barriers
  • Administrative errors
  • Customs issues
  • Finding reliable warehousing and fulfillment services
  • International licensing
  • Banking operations, including insurance, warranties, and duties
  • Managing high-priority, valuable shipments

Choosing Air Freight for a Specific Industry

Choosing between air and ocean freight is an important decision for organizations. Air shipments are faster and more reliable, giving businesses increased flexibility. They also get more choice in where their products can be sent.

Air freight services are more popular in certain industries due to the nature of the products. Businesses involved in electronics and consumer goods, auto parts, and niche footwear and apparel can benefit most from air freight forwarders. These businesses often deal with lightweight goods that are ideally suited to air transport.

Organizations dealing with large appliances, machinery, agricultural products, furniture items, and raw materials, like steel and lumber, may benefit more from ocean freight as they can transport more volume at cheaper rates.

A freight forwarder can advise businesses on the most suitable form of transportation before providing expert services on their behalf, handling everything from licensing to fulfillment to drayage services in the destination country.

Focus on Air Freight Rates

Freight rates have a significant impact on a business’ bottom line. While fast shipping via airplane may result in happier customers, it can cost the shipper 15 times more, impacting cash flow and revenue. Organizations must decide whether the extra expense leads to faster growth and long-term profitability or if an ocean freight strategy is more sustainable.

Air freight forwarders advise companies on the costs and processes involved in air transportation in the short- and long-term, giving them a better indication of which option is the best approach.

Freight rates should be monitored carefully. They tend to fluctuate, which can cause issues for businesses operating on tight margins. Air freight forwarders can advise you on the best service lines and provide information on how many metric tons certain carriers can load into the cargo hold to help you make the most of every air shipment.

Industries that Benefit from Airtight Solutions

No matter what industry you’re involved in, an international air freight forwarder offers several benefits, including:

  • Fast pickup and delivery services
  • Efficient systems and industry-leading tracking technology
  • Increased security
  • Cost-effectiveness due to networking and negotiation skills
  • Assistance with documentation
  • Inventory management
  • Warehousing at a secure facility

Choose Asiana USA for Unmatched Air Freight Experience

If your business is planning to expand to the international marketplace, it’s important that you work with a world-class freight forwarding service to streamline logistics and shipping and boost your profits. Asiana USA is an experienced international shipping company that can help streamline your shipping logistics.

For more information on our air freight forwarding services and how we can help your business, get in touch with us today.


How long does air freight take to arrive?

Freight delivered by air typically takes between 4-16 days to arrive, depending on the destination. However, if the buyer orders express shipping, the goods can arrive in as little as 24 hours.

How much freight can a cargo plane carry?

Depending on the model of aircraft, a cargo plane can carry between 10-45 metric tons of bulk or palletized goods. The largest cargo planes in the world, such as the Antonov An-124, can carry 250 metric tons.

How much does it cost to ship goods via air freight?

The cost of sending cargo by air is typically calculated using air freight volumetric weight, which estimates the weight based on the cubic measurements of the packaging.

However, the freight company may also use chargeable weight calculations, which use the actual weight vs. the volumetric weight to find the higher value. Whichever weighs more is used to calculate the cost.

Depending on whether you use an indirect air carrier (IAC), private fleets of planes, or other air freight carriers, the cost per kilogram ranges from $1.50 to $4.50.

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