Common Air Freight Mistakes - Our Tips

It is easy to make mistakes when organising air freight. Here are our tips to staying organised and effective with your freight logistics.

With a country as big as Australia, it’s no surprise that we need air freight to get important consignments where they need to go quickly.

But how do you make air freight an effective option for your business? And what air freight mistakes will cost you time and money?

In this article, we’re going to share our top tips for effective air freight logistics so you can make it a valuable part of your supply chain.

Things to be aware of when using air freight

To begin, there are a few things you should be aware of when you’re using an air freight service.

It’s good for small freight or freight that needs to get there quickly

The first is that you should choose air freight based on the size of the item you’re sending, or how quickly you want it to get there.

If you’re just sending a couple of small items that weigh between one and five kilograms, then air freight is a good choice. It’s likely to be the most efficient freight choice, and depending on the carrier, it can also be quite cost-effective.

Small items, packages, and cartons are all suited to air freight because planes are built for it. You don’t choose air freight if you’re filling a pallet.

Air freight has the largest carbon footprint

While it’s the fastest type of freight, air freight is also the most damaging to the planet.

The carbon footprint you leave behind when you choose air freight is greater than any other freight option.

With carbon measurement becoming more important in the freight industry, you’ll need to make sure you consider your impact, and how to offset any carbon emissions created by choosing air freight.

Common Air Freight mistakes - and how to avoid them.

If you do decide that Air Freight is the best choice for your freight, then you’ll want to make sure you’re taking into consideration some of the common mistakes people make that cause problems, cost money and make air freight less efficient.

Here’s our top mistakes to watch out for, and how to avoid them.

Air Freighting Dangerous Goods

One of the biggest mistakes we see with air freight, is that senders don’t understand what dangerous goods are.

There are some goods that simply cannot fly, particularly on commercial airlines. There are some goods that you might think aren’t dangerous, that become dangerous when they’re in the air with other freight.

Some items that aren’t considered dangerous goods on the road, are considered dangerous goods when they’re in the air. And they can only fly if they are properly packaged and labelled as dangerous goods.

It happens more often than you might think. A sender puts two aerosol cans in a satchel and sends it via air freight. And it could blow up the plane.

In addition to being incredibly dangerous, continually making this error can cause issues with your carriers, who could ban you from using air freight services.

If you regularly use air freight, make sure any staff who need to send things through your carrier booking or freight management system have completed appropriate dangerous goods training and understand what dangerous goods are, so you can avoid any delays or issues for not declaring dangerous goods.

Not having correct documentation

Having the correct documentation for your consignments is key to making sure that your freight will arrive at its destination on time.

For dangerous goods, this means the correct dangerous goods labels need to be applied and dangerous goods documentation needs to be supplied. If you’re unsure, speak to your freight broker, or freight provider to get clarification on the types of labelling you should be using.

But correct documentation doesn’t just apply to dangerous goods.

Make sure that even your standard shipping labels contain all the correct information, including a delivery contact, so your shipment doesn’t get lost or delayed on route to the receiver.

Inefficient packing methods

Packing your freight correctly for travel by air is important for several reasons.

The first, is that good packaging methods will ensure your items arrive at their destination undamaged.

There are so many touch points for freight from the point at which it’s collected to the time it arrives at its destination. A van might collect your carton, then transfer it to a truck, who takes it to the aircraft, then it’s back in a van, to a distribution warehouse, and back in a van to be delivered to the receiver. That’s a LOT of handling.

You don’t want to have a tiny item rolling around inside a large box. Make sure the box size fits the item correctly, that it doesn’t move around inside the box, and that you use adequate padding (like bubble wrap) so your item is secure and protected.

The type of packaging you use is also important. Air freight can be subject to movement, so make sure the type and quality of box will be up to the journey.

The second reason proper packing is important, is because air freight costs are based on the dimensions of the shipment, rather than the weight.

Because you’re paying for volume, the bigger the box, the more expensive it will be to ship it. Make sure the packaging is the right size for the item and you’ll improve your air freight bottom line.

Allowing time for delays

Delays can happen in all types of freight and while air freight is typically the fastest way to move your freight, it’s not immune to delays.

Lots of air freight travels on commercial aircraft. This means if flights are cancelled or delayed, then that delay doesn’t just effect passengers – it effects your freight as well.

During the COVID pandemic, many flights were grounded and air freight in Australia became backed up.

Weather events can also cause delays to air freight. We regularly receive updates from our carriers about air freight related delays due to planes being grounded or held up by inclement weather. Usually these are only for a few hours, but sometimes they can create delays of one or two days.

So be prepared, and make allowances where you can for delays when you’re sending air freight.

Understand the costs involved

Air freight is commonly described as the most expensive type of freight.

And while this is often true, it can also be very cost effective when the size of the freight you’re sending is small, and you need to get it there in a hurry.

What’s important is that you understand what your priorities for your freight are, and align that with how much you’re willing to spend.

You need to decide whether the cost of air freight is worth the customer service benefit you’ll deliver by getting your freight there faster.

You also need to make sure that you’re offsetting the carbon created by choosing this type of freight service – a Carbon Calculator like ours will help you to do that.

Working with a freight broker and using freight technology to compare air freight quotes from a range of carriers will help you get the best possible rates for your air freight requirements.

Need an Air freight negotiator? Freight People are here to help.

With our powerful market knowledge, the team at Freight People are uniquely positioned to help you get air freight right.

By gaining a deep insight into your freight profile, we can help you understand how and when to use air freight and negotiate the best freight rates with a wide range of carriers to suite your needs.

Our Australian-built freight management system can help you manage your air freight and all your other freight needs from a single platform, while our passionate team will support your business to optimise your supply chain.

For a customised freight solution that will give your business a competitive advantage, get in touch with us today.