What Is Air Freight: A Combined Trucking and Air Process

March 23, 2022
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Shipping and transportation services are the backbones of the national and global supply chain market. With increasing levels of demand from customers and increasingly tight availability for containers and shippers, the need for a fast and reliable mode of transportation has never been more urgent. This increased volatility has made air freight and cargo a growing area of focus for forwarders and shippers alike. Answering the question of ‘what is air freight’ requires an in-depth look at the freight forwarding market and air freight capacity in general. 

What Is Air Freight Typically Viewed As?

A large part of the sudden interest and demand for air freight services comes from the increasing pressure that multiple shutdowns, widespread disruptions, and shifting consumer demand have had thanks to the global pandemic. Industry experts widely anticipate more air freight demands as ocean rates change and as trucking lanes remain congested in response to the evolving COVID situation. Accenture recently reported that “Global international air cargo capacity was down 7% [in the last week of 2020], compared to two years ago.” Answering the question, ” what is air freight?” depends mainly on freight forwarders’ ability to continuously adapt and scale services to meet changing market trends and consumer needs.

Why Air Freight Combines Trucking and Air Transportation

The unique network of services in modern freight must combine air and truck services for several reasons.

  • Air shipments are faster and more effective than ocean freight for long distances, but ocean ports still rely on inland ground transit.
  • Trucking services are essential for transport from air or ocean ports to middle-mile delivery at distribution centers and warehouses.
  • Shippers can utilize major inland airports, but there is still a critical over-the-ground component, especially for rural customers farther from nearby airports.

In the ever-shifting global marketing and freight forwarding landscape, the combined services available with air freight transportation allow for maximum flexibility, efficiency, and profitability. 

Challenges and Solutions to Air Freight

To answer the question, “What is air freight?” is to understand the service’s benefits to forwarders. The most significant obstacles air freight addresses include:

  1. Miscommunication between forwarders and airlines, such as telling carriers cargo is not ready for pick up or giving the wrong location or pick up procedures.
  2. Failure to deliver on their end of the deal regarding communicating pickup status once cargo is off the plane and truckers are at the airport. 
  3. Lack of collaboration and good communication with shippers and forwarders who may be confused about how to deal with the next steps in the delivery route.
  4. Limited services are available for air freight pickup and poor customer service for expedited freight.

The path to successful air cargo recovery and delivery means knowing the ultimate goals of the network as a whole as forwarders continue to answer the question, “What is air freight and associated services”? To achieve those goals, shippers should follow these solutions while overcoming the obstacles.

  1. Double-check documentation to ensure it is accurate and finalized, and know any specific requirements and regulatory steps for airlines and airports.
  2. Track the container and pallets in real-time with innovative tracking software, and keep team members informed of disruptions, expectations, goals, and adjustments.
  3. Have both long- or short-term plans and procedures for inventory management, and know what carriers can handle air freight cargo and their availability, improving collaboration along the way.
  4. Recognize the urgency of air freight trucking and management while considering using additional hubs, coordinating within online portals, using real-time data, and world-class freight tech.

With these steps in mind, freight forwarders can be better prepared to meet customer demands and better understand the answer to the question, “What is air freight?”

Streamline Air Freight Cargo Recovery With the Right Trucking Partner

E-commerce spread, fast-tracked shipping options, and growing customer expectations have put unprecedented levels of pressure on forwarders to deliver. Air cargo is the fastest means of transport, as it combines long-distance air shipments with shorter ground-based shipments to deliver goods to their final destination. It is a collaborative effort between air and truck shipments that allows faster and easier deliveries. Shippers must have a clear strategy for air cargo tracking and handling before the shipments even leave the warehouse to be loaded on the first plane. It takes a collaborative effort and expert insight from the right trucking partner.  Contact Carrier911 today to learn more and answer the question, ”What is air freight?” once and for all.

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