What Is An Air Freight Forwarder?
The worldwide air freight industry was worth U$270.2 billion in 2019 and is estimated to achieve U$376.8 billion by 2027, demonstrating a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%.
Air freight forwarders are companies that specialize in managing and coordinating the transportation of goods by air on behalf of their clients.
They act as intermediaries between the shipper (the company or individual sending the goods) and the airlines, handling all aspects of the air cargo process.
Services provided by air freight forwarders
Air freight forwarders offer a number of services though depending on regional restriction and air travel dynamics, and vice versa, there might be some variation.
Freight Booking: They arrange bookings with airlines based on the client's requirements, including the selection of the appropriate aircraft and routing.
Documentation and Customs Clearance: Forwarders handle the necessary paperwork, such as shipping documents, customs declarations, and any other required documentation for international shipments.
Cargo Consolidation: They can consolidate multiple shipments from different clients into one air freight container or unit, optimizing space and reducing costs.
Warehousing and Storage: Some forwarders offer warehousing and storage services for goods before or after air transportation.
Cargo Insurance: They can provide cargo insurance options to protect against loss, damage, or theft during transit.
Track and Trace: Forwarders offer tracking capabilities to monitor the progress and location of the shipments.
General benefits of using air freight forwarders
Expertise and Experience:
Air freight forwarders have in-depth knowledge of air transportation procedures, regulations, and logistics. They can provide valuable guidance and advice to ensure smooth and efficient shipping.
Cost and Time Efficiency:
Forwarders can leverage their relationships with airlines and negotiate competitive rates. They can also optimize shipping routes, transit times, and handling processes to minimize costs and ensure timely delivery.
Custom Regulation Management:
Customs Compliance Forwarders are well-versed in customs regulations and can help navigate the complex paperwork and procedures required for international shipments.
Extensive Networks Of Agents:
Network and Connections Established forwarders have extensive networks of agents, carriers, and customs brokers worldwide, enabling them to handle shipments to and from various destinations.
Risk Management Forwarders offer cargo insurance options to mitigate the risks associated with air transportation.
What Features Should You Consider When Choosing An Air Freight Forwarding Business As a Partner?
Experience and Reputation:
Look for a forwarder with a proven track record and a good reputation in the industry. Check reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
Network and Coverage:
Ensure that the forwarder has a strong network and can handle shipments to your desired destinations effectively.
Evaluate the range of services provided by the forwarder and ensure they align with your specific shipping requirements.
Consider if the forwarder specializes in handling specific types of goods or industries that match your shipment needs.
Communication and Customer Service:
Evaluate the responsiveness, accessibility, and quality of customer service provided by the forwarder.
Compliance and Certification:
Verify that the forwarder is properly licensed, certified, and compliant with industry standards and regulations.
It's recommended to request quotes and compare services and pricing from multiple air freight forwarders to make an informed decision based on your specific shipping needs and priorities.
What Is The General Role of Air Freight Forwarder?
As mentioned earlier, the role of an air freight forwarder varies according to different limitations or flexibility.
We already talked about some of the roles and responsibilities of freight forwarding businesses, but here’s another in-depth look at the role-related aspect.
Shipment Planning: Air freight forwarders work closely with their clients to understand their shipment requirements, including the type of goods, dimensions, weight, and desired delivery timeline.
Booking and Documentation: They handle the booking of cargo space with airlines, ensuring that the appropriate aircraft and routing are selected. They also manage the necessary documentation, such as airway bills, shipping instructions, and customs declarations.
Customs Compliance: Air freight forwarders possess expertise in customs regulations and help clients navigate the complex procedures involved in international shipments. They prepare and submit the required paperwork to ensure compliance with customs requirements.
Cargo Consolidation: For smaller shipments, air freight forwarders can consolidate multiple consignments from different clients into a single air freight container or unit, maximizing space utilization and reducing costs.
Freight Handling and Packaging: They oversee the proper packaging and handling of goods to ensure they are secure and protected during transit. This may include providing packaging materials, labeling, and documentation related to the handling instructions.
Freight Insurance: Air freight forwarders may offer cargo insurance options to protect against loss, damage, or theft during transportation. They can assist in assessing the insurance needs and arranging coverage accordingly.
Tracking and Traceability: Forwarders provide tracking and tracing capabilities, allowing clients to monitor the progress of their shipments in real time. They keep clients informed about the status and location of their goods throughout the transit process.
Delivery and Distribution: Once the goods reach the destination airport, air freight forwarders coordinate the final delivery and distribution to the consignee's specified location. This may involve arranging ground transportation or coordinating with local delivery partners.
In conclusion, air freight forwarders play a crucial role in facilitating efficient and reliable transportation of goods via air.
They serve as logistics experts, handling various aspects of the shipping process, from shipment planning and documentation to customs compliance and cargo consolidation.
Their expertise in handling and packaging, along with offering freight insurance and tracking services, ensures the security and traceability of shipments.
Ultimately, air freight forwarders contribute to seamless delivery and distribution, coordinating the final stages of the transportation journey.
Their comprehensive services make them valuable partners for businesses involved in international trade, streamlining logistics and optimizing supply chains.