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A freight forwarder is a role in the international shipping business that entails the storage and shipping of materials for its clients. The job also includes processing the appropriate documentation for fees and tariffs, warehousing, booking space on the mode of transportation, negotiating freight charges, and filing insurance claims. The air freight forwarder does the same job as the freight forwarder who works with sea and land carriers except that the air freight forwarder specializes in shipping cargo on airplanes.

Even though the overall responsibilities of all freight forwarders are similar, it is necessary to clarify the exact duties of an air freight forwarder due to the unique aspects and regulations regarding air travel. Briefly, the major responsibilities of an air freight forwarder include global air freight transport and delivery, export and import handling, and customs clearing. A closer look at each of these categories can provide a better idea of the services available for the successful shipping of your cargo by a global air freight forwarder.

Prior to Shipment

Like any freight forwarder, the cargo that is to be shipped must pass through some scrutiny to ensure that it travels safely and as cost-effectively as possible. Therefore, before the cargo is loaded on the plane and sent off to the new destination, elements such as the value of the goods, the airplane fuel that it will take to make the trip, the volume, weight, packaging, and handling cost of the cargo, and the distance the cargo will travel all factor into the logistics planning for the chain of shipment.

All these factors need to be considered by the air freight forwarder concerning the specifics of air travel. That is why most sellers like to work with top air freight companies who specialize in air freight rather than be too broad in their services. The knowledgeable shippers at Asiana USA have the professionals who focus on air shipping, and we can save you time and money when shipping by air.

Carrier Transactions

Booking on a plane for the movement of cargo is not the same as buying a ticket and boarding a passenger airplane. Airplane carriers have higher security regulations for booking cargo on a flight to ensure the safety of the passengers and the plane. There is always the chance of loading dangerous cargo on a plane that might go undetected, and since there are thousands of flights and many different airlines to deal with, the air freight forwarder is the best person to manage this part of the trip. The world of aviation schedules, travel routes, and booking procedures are complex and intimidating if you lack experience in this area.

Negotiating Airline Pricing

Usually, when we think of international shipping, we look at the huge containers that are stacked on the ships and taken many miles over the ocean to the port for delivery. This has been sold as the cheapest way to transport cargo, and that is why it is a hectic mode of transport. However, in some cases depending on the destination, the size and weight of the cargo, and the immediacy of the contents, the air freight services may be the least expensive and the fastest.

An air freight forwarder that has a lot of experience working with a particular carrier has built up a high level of trust and confidence in getting the job completed for the satisfaction of the client. This status with the carrier can many times ensure that a client’s cargo receives special treatment and extra care when it is shipped. This credibility can move your cargo faster, and at a reduced cost, because of the volume that the air freight forwarder brings to the airline.

Airfreight cargo is sold at a fixed rate per kilogram, but it is important to note that this rate depends on the time of year it is shipped. During the high season and times of the year, when a lot of people are traveling, the rates will be higher, and the airlines will make more money. On the off seasons, the rates drop, and the airlines could take a loss if they do not have enough cargo to carry. The air freight forwarder will be aware of the price changes for any given airline, and they will be able to advise you accordingly. This is another reason to use a company that specializes in air freight shipments.

Booking the Cargo

Once the price has been agreed upon, the air freight forwarder will verify your space has been confirmed on the aircraft, and they provide additional data that is needed to complete the shipment. Along with the origin and final destination of the cargo, the air freight forwarder secures the Assigned Airline Air Waybill Number, the flight date and the number of the airplane, and the type of goods. In addition, they indicate the shipping agent and contact information, the contents and other details of the shipment, and an estimate of the final cost for the shipment.

Preparing the Shipment

The Air Waybill will be created through the efforts of the air freight forwarder. This document serves to communicate the contract terms, conditions, and liabilities of the parties involved. It will clearly describe the proof of delivery of the goods to the carrier, handling and invoicing instructions, and act as an insurance document and customs certificate when needed.

Finally, the air freight forwarder will correctly label and package the cargo, clear the goods for export, and, if required, clear the goods for import and clearance at the destination.

Final Thoughts

The air freight forwarder is a critical and unique partner in the logistics of international shipping. The company experienced in this mode of transportation will be the one to rely on to maneuver this multifaceted way to ship goods. These companies are skilled at planning and controlling transport orders, ensuring that the cargo arrives at its destination, and handling claims and agreements among the shipping partners. International Shipping Company of Asiana USA has the knowledge and expertise available to assist with all of your air shipping needs. Contact us at Asiana.com or call us at 855-500-1808 for a free estimate.

Tristan is a professional writer having had careers as a teacher of English, school administrator, and as a broker in real estate sales. He has gained a great deal of legal experience through his service as the president of a teacher’s union, a member of the board for a real estate association, and as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the real estate board of directors. Before beginning a full-time job as a freelance writer, he was the Executive Director of the Global Business Alliance for a local Chamber of Commerce and sat on the Government Affairs Committee for the Chamber.
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