What is the Primary Role of an Air Freight Forwarder?
28 December 2021
If you have been watching the news recently, you know that there is a supply chain crisis, and companies are becoming more reliant on air-shipping their products. Many ocean freight shipping vessels are just sitting in the water, filled with products that people desperately want or need.
Instead, companies will use the export by air method offered by air freight forwarders.
An air freight forwarder is responsible for getting products from the seller to the buyer. It is important that they have a relationship with several airlines and know each of the different forms required for shipping various products.
Why should I use a freight forwarder?
A professional forwarder will be able to advise you about the logistics of the shipping process and how much everything will cost. They will know the shipping routes that will save you money and get your product where it is going in a timely fashion. They will make sure your product is insured and is packed according to regulations. They will also make sure that the shipment complies with customs regulations.
Steps to the Airfreight Process
There are a few steps that an air freight forwarder will take when transporting a product from one location to another. A misstep can cost a seller money. If you are hiring an air shipper, it is important that the forwarder you choose has plenty of experience.
Preparation for Shipment
Before the air freight forwarder can do anything, the seller will have to ready their products to be shipped. They will have to follow the guidelines listed in the IATA Cargo Handling Manual. The method of packing will depend on the type of cargo they are shipping.
Not every product is safe to fly. There are some goods that are considered too dangerous to be shipped by air. Air shipment packages must have certain dimensions.
The product's net weight and gross weight must be calculated. The weight of the product itself is considered the net weight. The gross weight includes the containers, pallets, and packing materials needed for shipment.
An air freight forwarder will tell you that the volumetric or dimensional weight of a product is also important. This is a pricing method that calculates the weight of a package based on the height and length of the box that it is shipped in.
A shipping company will look at the gross weight of a package and the volumetric weight of a package and charge you the higher amount. A forwarder can estimate your volumetric weight, so you will not be surprised by the cost.
Arranging for The Flight
The air freight carrier will arrange for a flight to transport your product. This is harder than it sounds because they will have to find a flight with room for a package that is just the size of the one you are shipping. Airfreight carriers do not like to waste room, and they have strict safety regulations on the products that they are carrying.
Filling Out Necessary Forms
In order for a product to be shipped, a forwarder must have a Commercial Invoice and Packing List that will show what kind of products you are shipping. It will also show the amount of the goods and the overall value of the shipment.
Both the seller and the freight forwarder will have to fill out an airway bill. The bill will detail the originating country, the destination of that product, and the flight schedule of the shipment. There are several different waybills that may have to be filled out.
Getting a Product Cleared through Customs
Before cargo is shipped, it must go through customs. The customs officer will make sure that your package contains what you say it does and that there are no discrepancies in the weight of the product.
Once all of these steps are complete, the product will be loaded onto the aircraft and taken to its destination. When it arrives where it is going, it will go through customs again. It will then be taken to its destination via truck. Many air freight shippers can also arrange for ground transportation.
When you look for an air freight forwarder, be sure to ask how much experience they have in shipping your type of product. Ask them how they will handle insurance and if they can give you references.
Airfreight forwarding is a hard job, but it is a rewarding one. Freight forwarders make it possible for people to enjoy all the products the world has to offer.
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