Choosing to airfreight product helps businesses deliver critical cargo quickly in the event that inventory is depleted or demand spikes. Due to air freight being one of the fastest modes of transportation, its rates are also some of the most expensive. While the quoting processes and inputs are similar to over-the-road and ocean freight rates, there are a few key differences to know to help streamline the process and quickly make the best decision.
Most commonly, the turnaround time to receive air freight rates ranges between 12-24 hours but can be as little as 2-4 hours. For international air freight rates, freight forwarders typically have to contact overseas partners and obtain local costs to generate an accurate quote for the end customer. This process usually occurs overnight due to time zone differences.
Similar to all of the other modes of transportation, there are necessary shipment details that must be known prior to a provider being able to quote an air freight shipment. The most common shipment details required for a quote include:
Air freight rates are calculated based on the weight or volume of the freight as well as the service selected. There are various service options, which essentially translates to how quickly the freight can arrive at the end destination.
Air freight rates are commonly presented to the customer with per kilogram (KG) calculations plus standard fees. Although the presentation of rate structures can vary by the freight forwarder, air freight rates are typically presented as all in total costs or a line itemized quote, which breaks down each fee category.
When comparing rates, shippers should compare:
When it comes to pickup costs, freight forwarders either use their own trucks or outsource the pickup to a local cartage company. This approach is the same on the delivery side. For the main air freight carriage, forwarders typically have negotiated rates on file with airlines for common origin and destination pairs. Forwarders can also receive spot quotes from airlines.
Accessorials are additional fees that are charged on top of the base transportation cost. Some of the most common air freight accessorial fees include:
Air freight rates, like other modes of transportation, vary based on current market conditions. It is common for peak shipping times or seasonal events to cause rates to increase. Some of the most common times shippers can expect elevated rates include the fourth quarter due to the holiday shopping season and the first quarter due to Chinese New Year prolonging origin factory closures. Additionally, supply chain disruptions such as COVID-19 can cause rates to skyrocket due to supply and demand imbalances.
Although air freight is used less frequently due to being one of the most premium modes of transportation, it doesn’t have to be complex.
Who says logistics has to be complicated? We certainly didn’t. Contact our team to learn more about our air freight solutions.