How To Make Your Air Freight More Efficient

March 6, 2024

Air Freight

If you’ve landed on this article, it’s probably because you’re wondering how to make sending your cargo by air more efficient, or are looking for solutions to cargo problems. Well don’t worry! Luckily, air cargo efficiency improvements are possible, and can be implemented in quite a few different ways.

Utilising air freight is usually the go-to choice when you are working to really tight deadlines or need high-speed freight services, as you benefit from transporting goods over long distances in shorter timescales than you’d achieve by sending that same cargo via road or sea. But how can you make the process of sending cargo via air (a usually very efficient process!) even more efficient?

Thankfully, there are a number of considerations when looking to make air freight more efficient. Let’s explore them!

Use an air freight forwarder

The use of an air freight forwarder is recommended when reviewing air cargo efficiency improvements, but it’s important to check that they offer an efficient, secure and cost-effective service, including all (or at least most!) of the best practices we’ll explore below.

Air cargo and logistics go hand in hand, and choosing a service that works with your entire logistics team will be invaluable in helping with any air cargo efficiency improvements. Let’s explore the benefits of using an air freight forwarder to improve air freight efficiency:

Expertise and industry knowledge

Air freight forwarders are seasoned professionals with extensive knowledge of the air cargo industry, including regulations, customs procedures, and best practices. Leveraging their expertise allows businesses to navigate complex logistics challenges more efficiently and effectively.

Carrier selection and negotiation

Air freight forwarders have established relationships with a network of airlines and carriers worldwide. They can leverage these relationships to negotiate competitive rates, secure space on preferred flights, and optimise routing options, resulting in cost savings and improved service levels.

Consolidation and groupage services

Forwarders often offer consolidation and groupage services, allowing multiple shipments to be combined into a single larger consignment. Consolidation reduces the number of individual shipments, minimises empty space in containers, and maximises cargo utilisation, leading to cost savings and enhanced efficiency.

Documentation and compliance management

Managing documentation and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements is a complex aspect of air freight logistics. Air freight forwarders handle documentation tasks such as customs clearance, export/import paperwork, and regulatory filings on behalf of their clients. Their expertise in compliance management helps expedite the clearance process, minimise delays, and reduce the risk of penalties or fines.

Cargo tracking and monitoring

Forwarders utilise advanced tracking and monitoring technology to provide real-time visibility into the status and location of shipments. Clients can access this information through online portals or mobile apps, allowing them to track their cargo throughout the transportation process. Improved visibility enables proactive management of shipments, timely intervention in case of delays, and better communication with customers.

Supply chain optimisation

Air freight forwarders offer comprehensive supply chain solutions tailored to the unique needs of their clients. They analyse supply chain processes, identify inefficiencies, and implement strategies to optimise transportation routes, minimise transit times, and enhance overall supply chain performance. By streamlining operations and eliminating bottlenecks, forwarders help improve efficiency and reduce costs across the entire supply chain.

Risk management and insurance

Air freight forwarders provide risk management services to mitigate potential risks associated with cargo loss, damage, or theft during transit. They offer cargo insurance options tailored to the specific requirements of each shipment, providing financial protection and peace of mind to clients. By proactively addressing risk factors, forwarders help minimise disruptions and ensure the safe and secure delivery of goods.

Best practices for efficient air freight with a freight forwarder

A freight forwarder is a valuable asset in managing your air cargo, and to truly optimise your air freight efficiency, collaboration is key! Here are some best practices to follow when working with your forwarder to ensure a smooth and cost-effective experience:

1. Choose the right partner:

Selecting a reputable and experienced freight forwarder is crucial. Research their track record, industry expertise, and geographic coverage. Look for companies with strong relationships with airlines and ask them if they can prove their ability to handle shipments similar to yours.

2. Open communication is key:

Maintain clear and consistent communication with your air freight forwarder. Provide detailed information about your goods, including weight, dimensions, value, and any special handling requirements. Be sure to share any desired delivery timeframes and budget constraints from the get-go.

3. Prepare accurate documentation:

Errors in paperwork can lead to delays and additional costs. Ensure all documentation, such as invoices, packing lists, and air waybills, are accurate and complete. Explore using electronic air waybills (eAWBs) to expedite the process and minimise errors.

4. Plan ahead:

Anticipate peak shipping seasons and potential disruptions like bad weather. Book your shipments well in advance, especially for time-sensitive cargo, to secure space and avoid last-minute price hikes from airlines!

5. Leverage consolidation:

If you have multiple smaller shipments going to the same destination, enquire about consolidation options. Combining shipments can significantly reduce overall costs and simplify the logistics process.

7. Proactive risk management:

Discuss potential risks with your forwarder and develop contingency plans to address them. This could include alternative routing options, insurance coverage, and procedures for handling delays or customs issues.

8. Build a collaborative relationship:

View your freight forwarder as a partner, not just a service provider. Building a strong, collaborative relationship fosters open communication and allows the forwarder to tailor their services to your specific needs and preferences.

By following these best practices and fostering a collaborative partnership with your freight forwarder, you can significantly improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your air freight shipments, ensuring your cargo reaches its destination quickly and smoothly.

How can AGI Global Logistics help?

Here at AGI we specialise in offering efficient air freight solutions, working with a wide range of carriers to provide a seamless service. We’d love to talk to you about your specific needs, so please contact us today to discuss your requirements, and for all of the latest AGI news, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook!