If your business is ready for the next step and you want to expand and secure high-value shipments, consider going international! There are so many reasons why more and more businesses are opting for air freight as a shipment method to transport goods worldwide. Not only does this expand your customer base, but it reduces returns, decreases inventory, and, of course, helps you to secure more high-value shipments.

In this guide, we have provided helpful information on what air freight is, the benefits of using it and best practices for securing high-value shipments via air freight.

What is air freight?

Air freight is the movement of goods and cargo internationally via plane. It is another term for air cargo and covers everything from the transfer and shipment of the goods by an air carrier through to the arrival in the destination country. Air freight is used for both commercial and passenger goods and can take place on chartered flights or in the cargo hold on a commercial flight.

Other forms of freight forwarding

Other means of freight forwarding include sea freight services. While air freight is faster, sea shipment is more cost-effective and has some environmental benefits. Another alternative is road freight services, which are great for shorter distances and can provide a more accurate delivery time.

Why choose air freight?

There are many reasons why a company will choose air freight as their preferred mode of shipment. However, some businesses choose multiple channels depending on the goods being sent. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose air freight:

  • Speed – air freight is the fastest mode of transport when shipping long distances or internationally. It allows for fast delivery, therefore, a happy customer when their goods arrive in good time. This is a great way to secure high-value shipments by guaranteeing fast delivery.
  • Reliability – Airlines operate on well-established schedules, and deviations to those schedules are rare. It is for this reason that air freight is a reliable shipment service.
  • International shipping – Air freight opens delivery options around the world, therefore opening up your customer base and helping you to secure those high-value shipments.
  • Reduce inventory costs – reduce your inventory levels by choosing air freight because of the fast delivery times. Have a constant stream of in and out, reduce inventory costs and avoid the risk of overstocking and losing money.
  • Secure transportation – Airports have stringent security measures in place, which helps to protect your shipment. This reduces the risk of theft, damage and missing items in transit.
  • Use less packaging – air freight typically uses less packaging than other forms of freight forwarding. This leads to cost savings and environmental benefits, too.
  • Additional environmental benefits – such as a reduced carbon footprint for items with a short shelf life and require temperature control for shipment.
  • Specialised handling – airport staff have specialised equipment to handle a wide range of shipments.
  • Market responsiveness – Due to the quick turnaround that air freight offers, a business can respond to market changes fast.
  • Connectivity – airports are well-connected to other modes of transport, such as road and railway, making the next stage in delivery accessible and a smooth transition.
  • High-value shipments – Many businesses choose air freight as their preferred shipping mode for high-value goods (such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, fashion and beauty) due to the security, careful handling and fast delivery time.

Air freight best practices

Air freight best practices

Implementing best practices in air freight can help ensure efficient and cost-effective transportation, help you secure high-value shipments and increase the customer base that every e-commerce business wants. Here is your guide to air freight.

Is air freight the right choice for your business?

Air freight usually is most suitable when:

  • You’re shipping smaller and high-value goods.
  • You’re shipping goods that are required urgently.
  • You’re shipping goods for a retail business and need to uphold high levels of customer service.
  • You’re looking to benefit from lower insurance premiums.
  • You’re looking to make savings in packaging costs.
  • You need a service that can be effectively tracked at all times.

Air freight processes

  1. Choose a freight forwarder. International shipment can be a challenging process to understand and navigate. To reduce delays and minimise the risk of mistakes, we always recommend working with a freight forwarder. Make sure you choose the right freight forwarding company for your business.
  2. Organise your goods for shipment. Once you have chosen a freight forwarder, you will need to prepare your goods for shipping. Firstly, consider the packaging. While air freight is one of the safest means of transporting your goods, you still need to ensure you have the right solution to hand. Smaller shipments can be sent in brand new corrugated fiberboard boxes that are strong, lightweight and offer good protection, too.
  3. Contact your freight forwarder. From then on, your freight forwarder will be on hand to help support you throughout the process. You will need to contact and inform them that you have goods to be shipped. They will either collect the goods from your supplier or request that you have it delivered to them.
  4. Your goods will be taken to the airport. Your freight forwarder will then organise for your goods to be taken to the airport. This may be consolidated with other goods under their management if this is the most cost-effective solution for everyone involved.
  5. Your goods are loaded onto the aeroplane. Once your goods clear customs, they will be loaded onto the aeroplane. Depending on the type of shipment (whether your goods are being shipped independently or consolidated with other goods), this can take anything from a few hours to a few days.
  6. Your goods are transported to their destination. Once all goods have been loaded onto the aeroplane, your goods will begin their journey to the next country.
  7. Your goods will pass through customs. Upon arrival at the destination company, your goods will have to pass through the customs regulations there. Again, this process will be considerably smoother if your goods are accompanied by the correct paper, which has been fully filled out with the correct information. The goods will only be released to the relevant party once all duties and taxes have been paid.

Air freight best practices for you

One of the most important decisions you should make is to choose a reliable and experienced freight forwarding or logistics company (like us). Always plan ahead to avoid rushing shipping and being charged additional fees to put a rush on it. Ensure you use the proper packaging to ensure the goods are delivered to the customer intact.

Always ensure you have the proper paperwork to go with your shipment, as it will cause delays if not and result in your shipment being held or returned. Ensure the hazardous materials label is adequately displayed (if needed) and correctly document the shipping labels.

Consider getting cargo insurance just in case of loss or damage to products and opt to use a tracking system so you can track where your goods are at all times and update the customer on the arrival of their shipment.

International shipping for businesses

International shipping for businesses

International shipping for businesses is a model opted by companies of all shapes and sizes. It helps to increase profit, expand your business and diversify the customer base you’ve built. For many businesses, choosing to go global is the next logical step once they meet the boundaries of their current market. As a new shipper, understanding the logistics and operations of international shipping can take time and effort. Moving freight from one country to another is complicated. It requires a certain degree of research and understanding. And without the proper support, it can present several difficulties.

Here at Radius Warehouse and Logistics Services, we are committed to helping your business grow and providing you with professional and reliable air freight and other freight forwarding services.

Choosing to go international means you can reach much larger audiences, secure high-value shipments, utilise a range of different markets where competition is low, follow market trends, reduce the number of returns and expand your business.

Radius Logistics

At Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services, we provide a fast, efficient and professional service every time. Incepted in 1996, we are an independent freight forwarder based in the South West of England that offers excellent logistic solutions for worldwide cargo movements.

We have a dedicated and highly skilled team of professionals with years of experience in logistics and freight forwarding. Our specialisation lies in handling inbound and outbound shipments to and from the USA and the Far East, and we offer services connecting with numerous global origins.

As a BIFA member, Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services adhere to the standard trading terms and conditions specified by the British International Freight Association. We also provide fast, efficient and reliable warehouse services.

For more information about what we can offer your business, contact us or request a quote. If you want more information or to keep up to date with the latest, have a look at our guides and news and events pages. Need help? Work out your shipments with our help and advice, but we’re only a phone call away if you want to ask more questions about how we can help your e-commerce business.

How to secure high-value shipments

Now you know the basics of air freight, it’s easy to see why it’s a great way to secure more high-value shipments, from fast, efficient and reliable transportation to reduced inventory costs and wider connectivity, you can grow your business internationally.

Remember that one of the most important decisions you need to make when going international is to choose the right freight forwarding company. For more information about us and how we can help your business, contact us for a friendly, professional and reliable service.