Air Freight: The Complete Guide for SMEs

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In today’s fast-paced world of business, the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) relies heavily on efficient shipping and logistics. SMEs can reach new heights by harnessing the power of air freight, which provides rapid and reliable shipping services. This comprehensive guide explores the world of air freight, covering its definition, operational aspects, benefits, and considerations. So, whether you’re new to air freight or seeking to update your shipping strategies, this guide equips you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.

What is air freight?

Air freight involves the transportation of goods by air, utilising airplanes, cargo airlines, and air freight forwarders. It offers unparalleled speed, making it an ideal choice for time-sensitive shipments and long-distance transportation.

How does air freight shipping work?

The process of air freight shipping encompasses multiple key steps. The shipment is collected from its origin, transported to the airport, processed with necessary documentation and security checks, loaded onto an aircraft, transported to the destination airport, cleared through customs, and finally delivered to the recipient. Air freight forwarders play a vital role in coordinating and managing the shipment, handling tasks such as cargo space booking, transportation arrangement, documentation preparation, and shipment tracking.

Which products can be shipped by air?

Air freight accommodates a wide range of products, particularly those that require fast and dependable transportation. Electronics, high-value items, perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, and fashion products are among the common goods shipped by air. However, it’s important to note that certain hazardous materials and oversized items may have restrictions or require specialised handling procedures.

You can speak to our team of specialists to discuss any individual requirements.

When should air freight not be used?

Despite its numerous advantages, air freight may not always be the most cost-effective option. Factors such as weight, volume, and destination influence the cost of air freight. For large and heavy shipments or destinations well-served by alternative transportation modes, such as sea or land, exploring these options might prove more economical. Additionally, goods that lack time-sensitivity can benefit from the lower costs associated with slower transportation modes. In these cases, Sea or Road freight can sometimes be a better option.  

How much does air freight cost?

The cost of air freight varies depending on several factors, including weight, volume, dimensions, and destination. Typically, air freight charges are calculated based on either the actual weight or the chargeable weight, whichever is higher. The chargeable weight is determined by comparing the actual weight and the volumetric weight of the shipment. Calculating the chargeable weight involves multiplying the shipment’s length, width, and height and dividing the result by a volumetric factor, which varies according to the carrier and the type of goods.

Choosing the right air freight company for your business

Selecting the right air freight company is crucial for the success of your shipping operations. Consider reliability, experience, network coverage, customer service, and pricing when choosing an air freight provider. Look for companies with expertise in handling your specific goods and offering end-to-end solutions tailored to your business requirements. Assess their track record, certifications, and industry affiliations to ensure compliance with international standards and regulations.

Partnering with a reputable air freight company such as Mairon streamlines your shipping processes, reduces transit times, minimises the risk of damage or loss, and enhances overall customer satisfaction.

Air freight empowers SMEs with efficient and expedited shipping capabilities, enabling them to expand their reach and effectively compete in the global marketplace. Understanding the fundamental aspects of air freight, including operations, costs, and considerations, is paramount for making informed decisions that optimise any of your logistics strategies. By leveraging the power of air freight and partnering with the right service providers, SMEs can unlock new opportunities for growth and success in today’s interconnected world.

Unlock the potential of air freight and elevate your SME to new heights. Why not speak to one of our team to discuss how air freight can benefit your business. They can organise a free quote today!

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