Role of Air Cargo in Freight Forwarding – International Shipping By Air

Air cargo is essential for international trade and transport to operate efficiently, it plays a major role in moving goods from point A to point B quickly and efficiently, providing shippers with the ability to send time-sensitive items often at very short notice.

Freight forwarders play an important role in facilitating the transport of air cargo by providing services such as customs clearance, documentation preparation, warehousing and storage, cargo consolidation, and more. By providing these services, freight forwarders can help ensure that goods arrive at their intended destination on time and in good condition.

In this blog, we will delve into the role of air cargo in the freight forwarding process, and discuss the various ways in which it helps businesses and individuals move their goods around the world. So, let’s get started!

The Benefits of Using Air Transportation for International Shipping 

Air transportation is often the preferred method for international shipping, mainly due to the numerous benefits it provides. The benefits of using air transportation for international shipping include a much faster delivery time than other transportation options. Air transportation is also able to deliver goods to remote locations due to the ability of planes to travel over land, water, and deserts. In addition, air transportation is extremely reliable as planes are virtually unaffected by weather conditions and will arrive on time. 

1. Speed

One of the main advantages of air transportation is speed. By using aircraft to transport goods, shipments can be delivered to their destination much faster than other modes of transportation such as sea or land. This is particularly useful for time-sensitive or urgent shipments, as well as for businesses that need to maintain a competitive edge by getting their products to market quickly.

2. Ability to handle high-value and specialized shipments

Air cargo is often used for shipping electronics, pharmaceuticals, and other high-value or specialized goods due to the careful handling and security measures that are in place during transit. This can give businesses and individuals peace of mind when shipping valuable or sensitive items.

3. Flexibility

In addition to speed and security, air transportation is also a flexible option. It can accommodate a range of cargo sizes and types and can be easily integrated into the overall logistics process. This allows businesses and individuals to customize their shipping solutions to meet their specific needs and requirements.

4. Challenges and limitations

While air transportation offers numerous benefits, it is important to note that it does have some limitations. One of the main drawbacks is the higher cost compared to other modes of transportation. This can be a deterrent for some businesses and individuals, particularly for less urgent or lower-value shipments. Additionally, air transportation can also have a greater environmental impact due to the carbon emissions associated with aircraft.

The cost of air transportation is usually much higher than other methods, but it is sometimes worth the cost due to the benefits it provides. All in all, air transportation is an efficient and reliable option for international shipping, making it a popular choice for those who need their goods delivered quickly and securely.

Types of Air Cargo Services 

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. 

Full container load (FCL) and less than container load (LCL)

FCL and LCL options are available for air cargo. FCL is typically used when there are large orders and the items can be shipped in their containers. LCL is usually used for smaller shipments that can be grouped with other items into a single container, Freight forwarders will work with shippers to determine the best option based on their needs and budget. They may also provide additional services such as packaging, palletizing, and labeling.

Watch your business soar with AIT’s global air freight forwarders Partner with global logistics experts who will work with you to design a shipment plan that meets your vision, budget, and timeline. Specialized Air Cargo Services (e.g. hazardous materials, temperature-controlled) 

In some cases, specialized services may be needed for certain types of cargo. For example, hazardous materials require special packaging and handling to ensure safety. Temperature-controlled shipments may also need specific equipment and protocols to maintain the integrity of the goods being shipped. Freight forwarders can assist shippers with arranging these specialized services as needed. They can also provide advice and guidance on the best way to ship specific items, ensuring that all requirements are met and that the goods arrive at their destination safely.

Charter Flights and On-demand Services 

In certain cases, charter flights are the best option for air cargo which allows freight forwarders to arrange dedicated flights for high-value goods or large shipments. On-demand services are also available if emergency shipments need to be sent quickly and efficiently.

Charter flights and on-demand services are great options for air cargo shipments. With the right freight forwarder, shippers can rest assured that their goods will arrive quickly and without any problems.  ​

Consolidation and Groupage Services 

In some cases, shippers may need to ship cargo in smaller, separate shipments. This is where consolidation and groupage services come into play. Freight forwarders provide these services by combining several small shipments into one larger shipment, allowing for more efficient and cost-effective transportation. Consolidation services are particularly useful when it comes to ​International shipping, as it ensures a more streamlined process and reduces the risk of delays.

Groupage services are also beneficial for shippers, as they allow multiple shipments to be handled together at the same time. This saves time and money while ensuring that all shipments arrive safely at their destination.

Choosing the Right Air Cargo Services for Your Business 

When choosing the right air cargo services for your business, there are many factors to consider. The services offered by freight forwarders should be tailored to the specific needs of the shipper, and it is important to choose a company with experience in international trade. Additionally, reliable and cost-effective solutions should be provided that meet all applicable regulations and requirements.

Working with a reputable and experienced freight forwarding company can ensure that all shipments arrive safely and on time, making it easier for businesses to operate effectively in the global marketplace.  ​

Assessing your Air Cargo Needs and Goals 

To assess your air cargo needs and goals, you should consider several factors, including:

  1. The type of goods you need to transport: Different types of cargo have different requirements for handling, packaging, and storage. This will impact the type of aircraft and shipping container you need to use.
  2. The destination of your cargo: Consider the distance, customs requirements, and local transportation infrastructure at your destination.
  3. The speed of delivery: Air cargo is generally faster than shipping by sea, but different routes and airlines have different transit times.
  4. The cost of shipping: Air cargo can be more expensive than other modes of transportation, but it may be worth the extra cost for time-sensitive or high-value shipments.
  5. The level of security and tracking: Air cargo is generally more secure and can be tracked more closely than other modes of transportation.

By considering these factors, you can determine the best way to meet your shipping needs and achieve your goals.

Researching and Comparing Different Service Providers 

To research and compare different service providers for your air cargo needs, you can follow these steps:

  1. Determine your shipping needs: As mentioned earlier, consider the type of goods you need to transport, the destination, the speed of delivery, the cost, and the level of security and tracking required.
  2. Research potential service providers: Look for companies that specialize in the type of cargo you are shipping and have experience with your destination. Check their websites and read customer reviews to get a sense of their reputation and service quality.
  3. Get quotes from multiple providers: Contact several companies and request quotes for your shipment. Be sure to provide them with detailed information about your cargo and shipping requirements to get accurate estimates.
  4. Compare quotes and services: Compare the quotes you receive to see which provider offers the best combination of price and service. Don’t just focus on the lowest price – consider the reputation and reliability of the company, as well as any additional services they offer.
  5. Make a decision: Choose a service provider that meets your needs and fits your budget. Be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of their service before booking your shipment.

Negotiating Rates and Services 

Once you have chosen a service provider, you may be able to negotiate for lower rates or additional services. Some factors that can help you get the best deal include:

  • The volume of your shipment:

The more cargo you ship, the better deals you can get from service providers.

The distance and transit time: Longer routes with shorter transit times may be more expensive, but you can negotiate for lower rates.

  • Your relationship with the service provider:

Establishing a good relationship with your chosen service provider can help you get better deals in the future. By being well-informed and taking the time to research and compare different service providers, you can find reliable air cargo services that meet your needs and fit your budget. With the right partner, you can ensure successful international shipping operations with minimal hassle or disruption.

Evaluating Performance and Measuring Results 

 It is important to evaluate the performance of your air cargo service providers and measure the results against your expectations. Make sure you are aware of any delays in transit or unexpected changes in costs and track the progress of your shipments with your chosen provider. If a shipment experiences problems, make sure you document them so that you can address them with the service provider.

The future outlook of air cargo services 

The future outlook for the industry and the evolving role of air cargo services is very positive. Air cargo services have become increasingly important and relevant as the global economy grows and expands, and as many businesses and consumers are relying on air cargo services to get their goods and materials shipped to them quickly and safely. Air cargo services have also become more efficient, cost-effective, and reliable as technology advances.

The demand for air cargo services is likely to continue to increase in the coming years and decades, as businesses around the world look for faster, more efficient, and more reliable ways to transport goods. As the demand for air cargo services grows, the industry is likely to become more competitive, with more companies offering services and better prices. This competition can drive down prices and improve service quality. Additionally, air cargo services are becoming more environmentally conscious, with companies looking for ways to reduce emissions and waste. This is likely to become even more important in the future, as countries around the world invest in green technology.


In conclusion, the role of air cargo in freight forwarding is crucial. It offers speed, reliability, and flexibility, making it an essential tool for businesses and individuals looking to transport their goods quickly and safely. Whether you are shipping high-value products or time-sensitive items, air cargo can help you get your goods where they need to go in a timely and efficient manner. So, it is always a good choice for the transportation of your goods.

Use Global Shopaholics for all your shopping and shipping needs. and deliver your freight at a faster and more economical rate than usual.

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