Most shippers who use air freight in order to get their goods out quickly and keep their inventories lean. While air freight is a quick mode of transportation, it is typically expensive. Approaching your air freight strategically can help you keep costs as low as possible while still utilizing air’s quickness. Ways to Approach Air Freight
In this post, we will outline how to mix consolidated and expedited air freight shipping for maximal business outcomes.
When to Use Consolidation Air Freight Shipping
One way to keep your air freight costs down is to strategically use consolidation, since there can be significant savings when choosing consolidation over other options, like expedited shipments.
When consolidating air freight, shipments from multiple shippers share space on an aircraft. Every shipment on the plane is listed on the same master way bill, but each shipment also has its own house way bill to keep cargo organized. Shippers use consolidated air when they need a faster option than ocean consolidation, but don’t need expedited service— or their goods put on the next flight out. Air freight pricing is calculated on a per kilo basis and is charged based on whichever is the greater of the gross weight or the volume weight.
Compared to ocean and ground shipping, air freight consolidation is still extremely quick and will get your shipment to its destination in the shortest possible amount of time.
There are three key reasons shippers choose to consolidate their air freight:
Reliable Timing: When shippers choose to consolidate, carriers commit to specific flight times, meaning that shippers know exactly when their freight will arrive at its destination.
Flexibility: With consolidation air freight— and the help of an experienced forwarder— shippers can change how they want their goods to move up to 24 hours before the plane is loaded. This can be an extremely valuable feature for accommodating unexpected demand or scheduling alternations.
Safety: Damage is always a concern, as it can be costly and time-consuming. Since air freight consolidation always involves freight forwarders, shippers can rest easy knowing experienced professionals who are invested in the shipper’s success will be coordinating the picking up, warehousing, and loading of their products. Air freight consolidation forwarders know best practices to block and brace effectively and build containers to minimize damage.
There are certain types of freight that hold up well being consolidated on an airplane, including:
- Packaged or crated merchandise on pallets and skids
- General merchandise
- Textiles, garments, technology, cell phones, cell phone accessories, automotive parts
- Freight whose inventory carrying costs may outweigh the cost of transportation
When to Use Expedited Air Freight Shipping
There are certain times when expedited air shipments are unavoidable. Many reasons, from unexpected manufacturing delays to pressure from customers due to seasonal demands, may require a truncated timetable. Consolidation may still be a viable option for your freight even in these situations. If there is a delay in production, look at your entire supply chain before you jump to the conclusion that expedited air is your only option.
All too often, companies choose to expedite without knowing the situation at the delivery location. If expedited air freight arrives at a location on a Friday, it may sit untouched until Monday morning when the location reopens after the weekend. This defeats the purpose of paying a higher rate to expedite the shipment. Rather than having freight sit at the destination for two days, consolidating the freight with other shipments and planning the delivery for Monday saves money without extending the actual received date.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Your Air Shipping Options
Utilizing an air freight shipping expert is the most effective way for shippers to ensure your business uses consolidated and expedited services optimally. Experts are experienced forwarders and consolidators, which are especially important for consolidation, as most airlines only accept freight from freight forwarders or consolidators. Forwarders consolidate freight from multiple companies and tender it as a single unit to the airlines. Air forwarders often offer consolidated air freight at a reduced cost because they are able to leverage multiple customers, thereby improving both load factor and pallet utilization. This saves shippers time and resources by taking consolidation logistics out of their hands and into the hands of experts. Forwarders can also screen cargo if they have a screening machine and certified individuals, saving shippers from having to pay additional fees for third-party screening.
An air freight shipping expert can also advise your business on when expediting your air freight is worthwhile based on their analysis of market conditions and their logistics expertise. With an expert’s help, you can confidently choose to expedite your shipments only when you know the ROI is substantial.
Make informed decisions when choosing consolidation— know the situation at your destination. It’s important to make decisions knowing both sides of the equation rather than make a fast decision based on pressure. Air freight is the single fastest and most expensive mode of transportation, but shippers can maximize air freight’s benefits while minimizing its costs by utilizing expedited and consolidated air freight methods.
Learn more about the benefits your business can receive by leveraging air freight shipping options strategically.