A valuable lesson learned through the Covid-19 pandemic was the importance of effective forecasting. When you work closely with your freight forwarder, sharing manufacturing production volumes and likely schedules, everyone can efficiently plan ahead for future air cargo shipments. It’s vital to identify in advance any special cargo – oversized, non-stackable, perishable – and to consider the impact of future fluctuation in market demand.
If your shipments are of considerable size in terms of volume, you may prefer to enter a long-term contract with your freight forwarder. This can provide better air freight rates and other value-added benefits.
In a dynamic market, however, spot rates may also be highly attractive so it’s important that you keep your ear to the ground and be ready to adjust conventional strategy at any given moment.
Consolidation is a highly effective way to pay less for air freight shipping. This starts with you, the shipper, aiming to combine several smaller shipments into one larger shipment. And then your freight forwarder, on behalf of the carrier, aims to consolidate multiple shipments into one full container. This process works in your favor by reducing your costs and works in the carrier’s favor by enabling volume optimization on every journey.
If you take a look at your current air freight shipments, you may realize some goods are arriving faster than needed. Allowing a longer lead time by using slower modes of transportation, you may achieve substantial cost and carbon emissions reductions. For example, imagine your 20-ton shipment travels 9,000 km (5,590 miles) by air in just 7 days. But if your goods can tolerate a longer journey and/or your inventory strategy can be adjusted, perhaps you should consider a modal shift?
Not all items of air cargo are equal. Some goods can be securely palletized while others must be shrink wrapped or bubble wrapped. Proper packaging is essential to protect your items from damage in transit, which in itself is a cost to your business. If everything is correctly packaged, you’ll avoid shipment delays – a lot of money is wasted if you miss a shipment schedule. And of course by fitting more items into less space you pay less overall for shipping.
Freight forwarders offer service flexibility and this can provide you with valuable savings. For example, some shippers find it’s more cost effective to pick up their own goods and deliver them to the airport rather than assigning this task to the forwarder. Your business relationship with your freight forwarder should be collaborative and consultative, allowing you opportunities this like to control your overall costs.
There’s a strong financial argument for securing a good air cargo insurance policy rather than relying on international freight conventions for compensation. For one shipper, insurance provided a $70,000 payout instead of just $7,890. Learn why shippers need cargo insurance.
Alongside headline-making disasters and crimes in the air, at sea, and on land, there are a multitude of small and sometimes quite mundane loss events.
You should always work with certified customs brokers. Not all freight forwarders offer a certified customs broker service, so check with your preferred forwarder if you intend to export or import goods across borders.
A good broker will ensure your correctly declared goods move smoothly through customs, as swiftly and economically as possible. This is especially important for perishable goods and for mission-critical delivery schedules.