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If you need to quickly send goods from one side of the globe to the other, standard ocean freight may not be the most efficient mode of freight transportation. Air freight is the fastest and safest way to transport physical assets internationally, specifically a valuable asset.

While ocean freight is the most common type of international transport in the logistics industry, planes are another convenient way to transport cargo worldwide. They are typically the fastest way to ship your goods to their destination.

Basics of Air Freight Forwarding

Transporting cargo by air is more expensive than other methods, 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 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. They have the expertise to ensure 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 crucial role in the shipping process when managing supply chains and dealing with third-party logistics companies and supply chain professionals.

A freight forwarder can track your shipment using advanced technology and increase routing opportunities to their connections, ensuring your merchandise gets to its destination on time.

Here are some of the tasks carried out by air freight specialists and international freight forwarders:

  • Domestic and overseas licensing
  • Preparation of cargo and essential documents (e.g., dedicated contract carriage, airway bill, agreement on freight terms, etc.)
  • Selecting the right packaging solution for each shipment
  • Inventory management and warehousing
  • Communicating with freight brokerage services
  • Customs clearance
  • Legal compliance with local and overseas governments
  • Fulfillment services
  • Local drayage services
  • International banking
  • Supply chain consulting
  • Other supply chain solutions

Air Freight Forwarders Make International Shipping Convenient

Although freight forwarders provide a range of logistics services and take responsibility for distributing merchandise on behalf of businesses, they don’t physically handle or transport items. Instead, they are intermediary experts who work with the client and carrier to find the best freight transportation solutions.

While understanding the importance of good customer service, air freight companies have the knowledge and abilities to help your business adapt and succeed in the rapidly changing economic and political climates.

As a specialist service in the air freight sector, 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.

Forwarders have relationships with courier services, cargo airlines, freight brokerage specialists, and other essential service providers in the air freight industry, allowing their clients to gain a competitive edge. Without the help of an international air freight forwarder, most logistics companies could not benefit from overseas shipping.

Air Freight Logistics Keeps Shippers Compliant

International air cargo, particularly in the United States, is heavily regulated. Due to the numerous laws and regulations from organizations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), freight forwarding experts with in-depth knowledge of air transportation management are essential.

There is no guarantee that an air shipment will go to plan, and experienced forwarders are the best people to deal with any potential issues you may encounter.

Examples of commonly encountered freight transportation problems that experienced air freight companies can solve:

  • 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

Because a typical ground freight service cannot reach every location worldwide, air and ocean freight are the only reliable solutions for international shipping.
Choosing between air and ocean freight forwarding is one of the most critical decisions a logistics company must make. Air freight shipping is faster and more reliable, giving businesses increased flexibility and more choices on where to send their products.

Air freight services are prevalent in a wide variety of industries due to the specific nature of their products and services. For example, businesses selling electronics and consumer goods, auto parts, and niche footwear and apparel can benefit most from a competent air freight team. These businesses often deal with lightweight goods 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’s 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.

You must carefully monitor freight rates, as they frequently fluctuate, potentially causing 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.

Benefits of Reliable Freight Forwarding Services

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

  • Selecting the most efficient air freight transport options
  • Fast pickup and delivery services
  • Track shipments efficiently using industry-leading technology
  • Increased security
  • Cost-effectiveness due to networking and negotiation skills
  • Selecting the best air freight brokers
  • Assistance with documentation
  • Inventory management
  • Warehousing at a secure facility

Choose Asiana USA for the Best Air Freight Experience

If your business is planning to expand to the international marketplace, working with a world-class freight forwarding service is essential, as they can help you improve your logistics and shipping and boost your profits.

Asiana USA is an experienced international shipping company that can help streamline your logistics and enhance your air shipping experience. Get in touch with us today for more information on our air freight forwarding services and how our air freight experts can help your business.


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?

A cargo plane can transport between 10-45 metric tons of bulk or palletized goods depending on the aircraft model. The world’s largest cargo planes, such as the Antonov An-124, can carry up to 250 metric tons.

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

The cost of sending a cargo shipment 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.

The cost per kilogram changes depending on whether you use an indirect air carrier (IAC), private fleets of planes, or other air freight carriers, typically ranging from $1.50 to $4.50.

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