What is air freight and what are the types of goods transported by air

Air freight, also known as air cargo, is the transport of goods via an air carrier. This kind of transport can take place between any place which can be reached by airplane. Air freight is the fastest but also the costliest form of transport, compared to transport by sea, rail, and truck. Products transported by air are often things that have time-sensitive delivery and have a high value.

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What is the volume of international air freight shipping

To get an idea of how frequently international air freight shipping is used all over the world, the following questions are essential.

  • The volume of products transported by air

Roughly 16.3 million tonnes of cargo were transported via air freight in the EU in 2017. The number one handler of air freight was Germany, with approximately 4.7 million tonnes of goods passing its airports, followed by the UK (2.7 million tonnes) and France (2.5 million tonnes). It should also be mentioned that the Benelux area is specialized in air freight with Luxembourg even being the 7th largest freight handler in the EU.

  • What is the tendency for air freight

After decades of growth, the volume of air freight started to decrease recently. The reasons for that vary from rising fuel prices, Brexit, trade tensions, and other local reasons. However, the overall capacity for different types of goods transported by air continued to increase.

Pros and Cons of international air freight shipping

Shipping your goods by air freight has both advantages and disadvantages.

  • Pros:
    • Fast: Air freight is the quickest option for shipping your goods and the best options for time-sensitive shipping.
    • Dependable: As there are very few delays in departures and arrivals for air freight, you can rely on the estimated delivery time.
    • Security: The security of air freight is higher than with transport by road and sea because security at an airport is tighter. This reduces the chances of the items being damaged or stolen.
    • Faster Customs Clearance: Air freight is usually quickly unloaded off the aircraft and can, therefore, undergo a quicker customs clearance.
    • Extensive coverage: Air freight can be sent almost everywhere all over the world.
  • Cons:
    • Expensive: Air freight costs are much higher than the costs of shipping by sea, rail or road. This is because international air freight rates include the costs for purchasing and maintaining an aircraft.
    • Limited Size: For large and inexpensive goods air freight is not a good option, due to the limited capacity of an aircraft.
    • Product restrictions: Not all goods are allowed on board of aircraft, and therefore, there is a range of goods that can’t be shipped by air.
    • Carbon footprint: Air freight has a much higher carbon emission than transport by sea or road, thus making it less environmentally friendly.

Air freight costs

International air freight rates depend on a combination of factors that together determine the air freight costs.

  • The measurements: The size of your shipment is essential when determining the costs. These include length, width, height, and weight.
  • Type of goods: The types of goods could have additional requirements, which adds to the costs.
  • The distance: The distance is an essential part of the cost calculations. Prices depend on the fuel prices and are affected by fluctuations on the oil price.
  • Insurance: Additional insurance adds to the price.
  • Customs clearance: Additional fees may apply for customs clearance service.
Alternatives for avoiding air freight costs

Due to the high international air freight rates, you may want to look into other ways of shipping. Here are the alternatives for shipping by air.

  • Road freight: When you are looking for transport by road, there are several options that Eurosender provides.
    • Standard Shipping Service: For smaller packages, you can use our standard shipping service.

      Check which service to choose

    • FTL: Full truckload shipments are suitable for large and bulky shipments.
    • LTL: Less than Truck Load shipments are suitable for shipments on pallets that do not cover an entire truck
    • PTL: Partial truck loads are shipments that do not need the whole vehicle but may have special shipping needs.
    • Dedicated Van Delivery: When you have a shipment that is not big enough to fill an entire truck or when you want your shipment to go directly from A to B, then our Dedicated Van delivery is a fast and cost-effective option.
  • Rail Freight: Rail freight is the transport of goods carried out by cargo trains through the rail network, which connects cities and countries. Over the last few decades, this type of transport has been declining, although there are countries with different trends.
  • Sea Freight: Sea Freight transport is transport by cargo ships, suitable for large quantities of goods, which are packed in containers. This service is often used for the international import and export of goods in bulk.
Access to air freight services with Eurosender

Eurosender offers a wide variety of shipping services that cater to the different shipping needs our customers have, including products transported by air. Working with a vast network of logistics companies, we can provide you with the fastest and cheapest option for your shipment, including shipments by air. Want to know more about ordering air freight services? Get in touch with our logistics experts and they will inform you regarding the types of goods transported by air, international air freight rates, and all other questions you might have.