While oceans might carry the bulk of cargo in terms of sheer volume and weight, air cargo transport is just as vital to the domestic and international supply chain. When rush orders are needed over more considerable distances and international borders, air freight is the choice for many shippers, forwarders, and carriers. “Air cargo transports over US $6 trillion worth of goods annually,” as noted by the International Air Transport Association, and “accounting for approximately 35% of world trade by value; during the COVID-19 pandemic, air cargo represented one-third of airlines’ revenue. Recently, the IATA released October 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that air cargo demand is not just recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, it is growing with demand up 9.4% over October 2019.” Demand increases as precious commodities and materials are increasingly in demand. With all this traffic and so many shipments crossing the skies, air freight tracking is critical to maintaining good customer relationships and a high-quality standard for on-time delivery.
What is Air Freight Cargo Tracking?
Air cargo tracking includes all processes and services related to the tracking and tracing of air cargo while en route from one destination to another. Tracking occurs with assistance from the airline, freight forwarders, logistics manager, GPS devices, or a combination of these options. Most customers and logistic providers prefer to offer tracking from when the order is placed to the time of final delivery or hand-off. Tracking every leg of the journey, including dwelling, processing, holding, and delay time, allows shippers and customers to see status updates and plan accordingly for freight pickup and delivery.
Challenges & Risks with Limited Air Freight Tracking & Visibility
Although being on top of your air cargo sounds doable, there are some points of difficulty that can cause problems with freight tracking and air shipment monitoring. This is largely because:
- There’s a distinct lack of data access and tracking regarding real-time updates and push notifications for air freight.
- Improvements and innovations have been made by in most cases, the tracking systems prevalent today are still outdated and inefficient.
- Many air cargo providers have yet to embrace the benefits of real-time tracking and digital monitoring fully.
These basic flaws create obstacles that shippers must contend with when working to improve air freight tracking and monitoring services:
Shippers May Have Poor Visibility Into Available Expedited Drivers
Without reliable access to carriers and specialty drivers, freight shipping and pickups become more challenging to organize and monitor. Delays of days or even hours affect specialty loads such as frozen goods, medications, or livestock transports. Poor visibility into current expedited trucking drivers’ availability makes this simple task a significant challenge for shippers and air freight forwarders.
Air Cargo Miscommunications and Misseteps Cause Pickup Concerns
Poor communication and feedback and inquiry response time delays can further complicate pickup and delivery concerns. Air cargo deals with high-value products that are often handled under strategic parameters. Communication is key to minimizing missteps and ensuring a timely and accurate response when issues arise.
Risk of Cargo Being Lost, Stolen, Damaged, or Otherwise Impacted
Even with security present, there is likely not someone watching every warehouse or storage area 24/7. Loss and theft can concur when cargo sits for days on end. Damage can occur if cargo is not properly stored or handled. Partial or full loss of sensitive cargo loads can also plague forwarders if scheduling and tracking services are not up to par.
Limited Understanding of Airport Requirements and Processes May Exist
Every airport and terminal is laid out differently and will have different protocols and procedures for air freight. Carriers and shippers who do not know the specifics of the airport they are working with will likely encounter delays, errors, and other issues while handling cargo. Planning and knowing what to expect with airport pickup is critical for smooth pickup and dropoff.
Airports and Terminal Operators May Have Little Ownership in Problems
Along those same lines, individual personnel at airports often have little control or power over processes that are in place. They are as bound to the legalities and processes as shippers and carriers. It is essential to work with airport staff and management rather than against them when issues and concerns arise with air cargo handoffs.
Security Concerns and Requirements Are Strict and Highly Enforceable
With so much traffic coming in and out of airports and warehouses and storage areas on site remaining near maximum capacity in many cases, security will be tight. There will be no cutting corners and side-stepping processes for airfreight recovery and pickup. Transporters must ensure everything is to make the process as fast and stress-free as possible.
Lack of Conformation for Successful Delivery or Pickup of Cargo
A big concern when dealing with air freight processes comes down to a lack of documentation and notifications. When loads are picked up and move from one stage of the journey to another, there is often little to no reliable accuracy for updates. This puts the shippers and the customers alike at a disadvantage and makes scheduling and corroding more difficult.
Poor Tracking Processes to Provide Accurate ETA Notifications
The final issue that often plagues air freight tracking processes is a lack of real-time notification updates. When dealing with specialized cargo, having containers sitting for hours simply because it was miss-timed can be devastating. Accurate ETA notifications ad updates are needed and often difficult to get with current tracing systems.
Why is Air Freight Tracking and Visibility Important in Air Freight Tracking?
When classifying cargo transported by air, they generally are labeled as General Cargo or Special Cargo. Special Cargo includes anything that is not considered primary retail products or goods. These are divided into smaller specialized sub-groups that can consist of reefer freight, pharmaceuticals, hazardous materials, etc. All cargo should be monitored and tracked to provide optimal transport services. But specialized cargo and freight require it in many cases as a slight delay or hiccup in transport could render an entire load damaged or useless. Shipping managers at FourKites note that “on average, ETAs have been available for air freight just 40% of the time — and even then, the accuracy of those ETAs has been off by an average of two days!” This highlights the growing demand for fast and reliable air freight tracking services.
The Benefits of Air Freight Shipment Tracking
Shipping delays rank near the top of forwarders and customers’ complaints regarding air freight transport. Keeping customers informed of progress, uncertainties, and potential issues can help keep tensions low and make it easier to find workarounds. Air freight remains the most reliable and efficient way to move goods across many industries. The ability to track and monitor location, ETA updates and cargo status confidently is critical to keeping shipments moving. Air freight shipment tracking offers the following benefits to logistics managers, shippers, forwarders, and transportation providers:
- Control and monitor your assets to ensure high profits and lower expenses.
- Improve shipper and customer service by making good on delivery expectations.
- Eliminate anxiety and concern over delays and shipment disruptions in transit.
- Take advantage of user-friendly solutions personalized to specific needs.
- Monitor packages in real-time with digital tracking and on-the-go access.
- Lowers the likelihood of lost, damaged, stolen, or ruined goods.
- Reduces operational costs by organizing faster, more efficient routes.
- Helps management make more accurate inventory reports and faster invoicing calls.
- Reduced delay time by providing fast and reliable responses and resolutions.
- Increases customer satisfaction and improves customer loyalty and retention.
- It Lowers insurance costs, reduces claim frequency, and lowers accessorial expenses.
- Improves employee performance through real-time monitoring and faster feedback.
Most customers today expect tracking to be available from when the order is placed to when it arrives at its final destination. Tracking every leg of the journey provides a clear picture of where cargo is when it will drive, and how much adjusting might be necessary farther down the line. Real-time updates through the dwelling, processing, holding, and delay times allow all involved parties to see and enjoy the benefits of easy planning and coordinating.
Improve Air Freight Shipment and Cargo Tracking With Carrier911
One of the common misconceptions about air freight tracking is that the system is not suitable for them, it is too cumbersome, too lacking, or too difficult to utilize. Some might resist change or fear that technology is too advanced or expensive to be worthwhile. But nothing could be further from the truth as airfreight trucking and delivery systems are constantly improving to be more streamlined, user-friend, adaptable, and affordable. With industry-backed services,
Carrier911 offers processes to track all air freight and expedited air freight trucking transportation. It is easy for forwarders to get customized services and access to 24/7 digital updates anytime and anywhere. Forwarders need to be tacking air freight, and Carrier911 has the tools to make the process easier. Contact the freight tracking experts today for a free demo.