Many problems can occur during the export and import of goods via air transportation.
Examples include a procedural bottleneck during customs clearance, congestion at an airport cargo terminal, an excessive dwell time (the length of time your in-transit cargo remains stationary), unloading errors caused by under-skilled personnel, inefficient use of air cargo capacity, inadequate forecasting of airline cargo capacity and space allocation, and the challenges of handing dangerous goods and other sensitive or hazardoous items.
Shipper/Consignor and Consignee
As the shipper or consignor, you are responsible for actions at the very start (origin address and accepting pick-up) and your consignee is responsible for actions at the very end (accepting delivery/final-mile distribution at the destination address).
In between, the process stages are typically the responsibility of your freight forwarder and the airline.
Working with a Freight Forwarder
Your freight forwarder acts as an agent between you and the airline and, if needed, between you and customs.
When you are ready to ship your goods by air, you complete and send a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) to your freight forwarder. This initiates all subsequent actions, the first of which is the freight forwarder arranges with you a pick-up day and time from your origin address.
From that point on, the freight forwarder can handle every aspect of the air cargo shipping process. Ensure you can track and trace your shipment throughout the journey, all the way to confirmation of final delivery.
2. What Do ETD and ETA Mean?
These are acronyms for estimated time of departure (ETD) and estimated time of arrival (ETA).
You might also see actual time of departure (ATD) and actual time of arrival (ATA). Keeping track of the times can be mission-critical for tightly scheduled air cargo shipments.
3. What are Incoterms?
Incoterms are a set of norms used in international trade contracts. Maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce, these terms define which parties incur the costs and at what specific point in the shipping process the costs are incurred. They are often used as abbreviations, such as FOB (free on board) and CIF (cost, insurance, and freight), and can sometimes lead to misunderstandings among business partners.