What Is An Air Freight Forwarder?

air freight forwarder operations at airport

An air freight forwarder plays a critical role in commerce, economies, and our present globalised world. According to IATA, air cargo transports over $6 trillion dollars worth of goods each year. Compared to the total value of world trade, air freight is responsible for approximately 35%. In doing so, 7.4 billion parcels are transported on behalf of both individuals and organizations, ensuring that everyone receives their goods efficiently (IATA, 2021).

Introduction to Air Freight Forwarding

loading air freight into plane

The international air freight space is highly regulated, from the types of goods transported to the weights afforded. Yet, despite its inherent complexity, air freight continues to be a vital component of the global transportation network. Often used in situations where sea or land transport is not feasible, air transport will continue to be used significantly in daily logistics.

Efficiency and Speed

air freight forwarder offers speed

A core benefit of air freight forwarding is the speed offered on its routes. Naturally, air transportation is much faster than sea travel. Be it in terms of raw speed of vehicles or the directness of flight routes, air freight certainly reaches its destination much faster. This makes air freight the preferred method amongst companies or individuals looking for the quick delivery of their goods.

An everyday example of the use of air freight for the layman is in the express delivery of products bought on an e-commerce store. If you were purchasing from an overseas seller and chose the express delivery option, then chances are that your product will be flown to your country.

Relatively higher cost

Due to the inherent limits on the weights of goods carried per flight, air freight does generally cost you more. In addition, import duties and GST/VAT also need to be paid, both of which are calculated as a percentage of the cost of goods and shipping.

Role of an Air Freight Forwarder

air-freight forwarder operations in the world

An air freight forwarder takes care of all logistics required to have your goods transported by air. From the point of origin, through any intermediaries and finally to the end destination. To accomplish this complex undertaking, air freight companies contract with a range of companies. These partners cover services such as air transportation, warehousing, customs and insurance.  

Freight Consolidation

loading air freight into plane

Air freight companies are able to achieve economies of scale by consolidating multiple transport orders. By taking orders during a time period, they are able to negotiate for cheaper per unit transportation fees. At the same time, with all goods proceeding to the same destination, it reduces the need for multiple transit points. Rather than having stopover points at hubs around the world, your goods travel straight to the destination. This in turn reduces both transport time required as well as the chances of damage or deterioration of your goods.

In summary, air freight forwarders assist to plan for space, speed and cost of transporting your goods.

How is Air Freight Priced?

air freight parcels unloaded from plane

Unlike sea freight, air freight is priced by the weight of your goods as opposed to volume. This makes intuitive sense since aircrafts have a more significant limitation when it comes to weight capacity.

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