For any small business, the killer is usually time and distance (either of which -- you guessed it -- equals money). Parts, supplies and materials need air cargo transport to get to your small business, and finished products need to leave and get to customers.
Air freight transportation can do lot to solve the supply chain problem, and there are more air freight options than ever for small business. Air freight and air cargo are generally the same thing -- an airline that does logistics either exclusively or in conjunction with a passenger business, an air courier, or an air cargo company that operates only cargo planes.
In this guide, you will learn:
1. How to find an airline air freight company, aka common carrier shipping
2. When to consider an air courier
3. Hiring help with air cargo industry logistics and air freight transportation
4. Getting across borders with air cargo and air freight
5. How to price air cargo transport and air freight rates
By definition, air cargo transport is a wide business category
Nearly every passenger airline has a air cargo company division these days (all that extra baggage room means more money) and there are hundreds of air cargo companies as well. Booking common carrier shipping space is first a matter of finding a company going your route, then getting bids.
listings at Business.com.
Air cargo is, increasingly, a job for global parcel shippers
Once up on time, express air courier services focused mostly on letters and contracts, expecting to one-up the post office on speed. As competitors have poured in (and the Postal Service got more serious), they have branched out into domestic and international air cargo. Air courier companies now handle bigger packages, do customs work and provide all manner of tracking, insurance and logistics services.
Hiring help with air freight and air cargo jobs
If your supply chain is global or complex, or even if it's domestic and hard to manage, you can offload a lot of the air cargo transport management to professionals who do third-party logistics and to freight forwarders who work to get your goods coming or going on time, in time.
and freight forwarders
Sending cargo, air, land or ocean, often means crossing borders
The part of the air freight and air cargo equation that usually kills a supply chain -- and drains out profit -- is getting through stuff through Customs. Air freight transportation has definitely not gotten easier since heightened U.S. security restrictions after Sept. 11, either.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
agency. See a member directory at the National Customs Broker and Forwarders Association of America. Your courier or third-party logistics expert probably already has a regular Customs broker or provides the service. There's more information on customs brokers
for air cargo transport at Business.com.
- Absolutely include a serious analysis of air cargo transport in any business plan that involves import-export. A weak analysis of air freight rates can sink a small business fast. Here's where common carrier shipping can make a difference on cost.
- Air cargo and air freight operations have the market divided up pretty well. First, sort out how much business you are likely to really offer a given provider, then match your needs to their products.
- Big couriers are really interested in small business, but an air cargo line specializing in your destination or product line can be a good choice too. Compare air freight rates first.