Air cargo transport, do you know what it is exactly?

Internationally, airfreight is the fastest way to develop logistics operations.

The air cargo transportation , apart from being one of the fastest, is widely used in scheduled shipment flows in which it is a matter of minimize storage The system is designed for massive storage of goods and is produced only to make deliveries at the times when they are needed, thus avoiding storage cost overruns and saving time when looking for sites that adapt to the needs of our goods to store them until they are strictly necessary.

This working model not only saves monetary costs, but also saves human costs and extends the timing of productivity with a prompt response to the customer on how the desired transport is going to be carried out.

Advantages of air cargo transportation

  • Suitable for international freight traffic
  • Wide coverage
  • Transportation of high-cost products, parts, urgent goods…
  • High volume goods
  • Easy access
  • There are no physical barriers, i.e., we can carry out the transport in a single trip regardless of the origin and destination of the goods. (We will always take into account the customs conditions to be able to carry out the transport successfully).

Nowadays, the trend in freight transport is changing and we have to start taking into account this type of transport, as it is starting to grow. According to several studies by AENA in 2015, freight transport at air levels hovered around 8.2% as far as international transport is concerned. In contrast, in 2019, air freight transport accounted for an increase in mobility, in just one year, of 58 million kilograms, thus amounting to an approximate amount of 1,070 million kilograms.

What is an air cargo center?

An airport is mainly divided into two zones: passenger and cargo boarding. Therefore, when an area of the airport is dedicated to the loading or unloading of goods, we speak of cargo hubs.

An air cargo center is created with the main objective of contributing to the development of industrial and logistic activities. It usually consists of a set of platforms, docks and circuits for the circulation of goods.

For example, the Valencia air cargo center according to an article by Aena:

“It has an area of 3.1 hectares on the first line, with warehouses for cargo handling and autohandling activities, and a second line area of 2.8 hectares, with warehouses for freight forwarders and logistics operators. In addition, the Center has a Border Inspection Post (BIP) and a three-story general services building.”

What is a handling agent? It is an agent external to the company that belongs to a private entity of freight forwarding service. And an autohandling? It is an agent that belongs to the airline itself (system most used in Spain).

When transporting goods, the following elements are involved:

  • Loading and unloading of aircraft at the check-in or check-out area
  • Transport of unloaded goods to the terminal’s cargo storage area.
  • Inspection, preparation and storage of goods for later delivery

What documentation should we have before transportation?

The requirements to be able to transport the goods are as follows:

  • Formalization of the contract of carriage
  • Shipment documentation: In this case, we refer to all the documentation required for customs clearance.
  • Marking of merchandise with importing company identifiers
  • Well packed and packaged goods
  • Unitarily labeled and clearly visible packages

What types of air transportation are there?

They can be classified in two ways: according to their dimensions and according to their commercial function.

According to their dimensions, airplanes are divided into:

  • Narrow-body aircraft: Width up to 3 meters and a single aisle in the passenger cabin.
  • Wide-body aircraft: Width of about 5 meters and have two aisles in the passenger cabin. They usually carry the merchandise in the warehouses.

According to their commercial function, aircraft are divided into:

  • Combis: They transport both passengers and air cargo. Cargo can be carried either on the upper deck or in the hold.
  • Mixed: Most common. It is used to transport passengers on the main deck and in the holds they usually carry passengers’ luggage and goods.
  • Convertibles: They are considered a la carte aircraft, i.e., they can be used for both passenger and cargo transportation.
  • Freighters: This type of aircraft only transports merchandise, i.e., they only transport cargo.

What is the air cargo transportation chain like?

The transport chain starts when the shipper establishes the beginning of the goods, as we see below with the documentary and physical flows that occur at the same time in an airfreight transport.

Document flow in air cargo transportation

Document flow in air transport

Physical flow in air cargo transportation

Physical flow in air transport

Depending on the type of needs you have and the goods to be transported, various air cargo transportation options can be used for the best handling of the goods and circumstances. Don’t hesitate to ask us!

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