Air freight is a fast and efficient method of shipping that plays a crucial role in the global supply chain.
With so many different parties involved, it’s important to understand the process to avoid unnecessary fees and ensure a smooth transit.
Firstly, let’s delve into why air freight is such a popular choice for transporting goods. Air cargo offers unparalleled speed and efficiency, making it ideal for high-value, urgent, and perishable goods. In fact, airlines transport over 60 million metric tons of goods annually – representing more than 30% of global trade by value.
However, it’s essential to note that shipping by air can be expensive compared to other transportation methods. Making mistakes or overlooking certain factors during the process can cost you anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
To save money even when opting for air freight, here are three tips you should follow:
1. Package Properly
When calculating air freight charges, two weight measurements come into play – gross weight and volumetric weight (also known as chargeable weight). The greater of these two figures determines your shipping charge.
It’s common for people to get confused when they ship lightweight but space-consuming items like pillows and end up being charged based on their volume rather than actual weight.
Therefore, carefully choose packaging materials that allow you to fit more products without damage while keeping overall size and weight minimal.
2. Prepare Needed Documents Beforehand
Air cargo is known for its rapid processing time; therefore, it’s crucial to have all necessary documents ready beforehand. As an importer, preparing all necessary documents is crucial when bringing shipments into the United States.
– You will need either an annual bond or single bond which acts as a contractual agreement between you (the importer), the bond surety company, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These bonds guarantee immediate payment to CBP in case of additional import duties, taxes, or fees.
Annual bonds are more cost-effective if you plan to import frequently.
– You must also fill out a Power of Attorney (POA) form that grants your customs broker the authority to process customs clearance on your behalf. This document requires an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for U.S. companies or Social Security Number (SSN) for individuals importing under their name.
3. Track Cargo Status Online
To ensure better preparation and control over your shipment, it’s essential to track its status online using the air waybill number provided by your freight forwarder.
The airway bill serves as a receipt issued by international airlines for goods and provides evidence of the contract of carriage. It contains vital information such as airline prefixes, airway bill numbers, and check digits.
By inputting these details into search engines like Google, you can easily find the tracking page of the respective airline and monitor your cargo’s progress.
By following these three tips – packaging properly, preparing necessary documents beforehand, and tracking cargo status online – you can save money while ensuring a smooth shipping process.
Understanding how air freight works is crucial not just for importers but anyone involved in international trade.
Being aware of potential pitfalls can help avoid unexpected charges at airports and allow you to make informed decisions regarding transportation methods based on product sensitivity, urgency, value, and other relevant factors.