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Optimize your global supply chain efficiency by consolidated your cargo ( Air shipping chapter)

Airfreight cost is too steep and ocean freight takes a very long time. Is there anything in between? Yes, it is called air consolidation .

Importers who use air consolidation service has the following in common,

  • 6-10 days lead time in your supply chain expectations

  • Regular purchase from multiple vendors

  • Purchased products are small size, light in weight and

General Process

Air cargo consolidation is the practice of combining lots from multiple consignees into one shipment. All shipments will be listed under the same master airwaybill, but each shipment will also have a house airwaybill to help keep the cargo organized. This freight forwarding method is ideal for anyone who does not have a large enough order to fill a plane on their own and wants to save on the cost of shipping.

I have a client who purchased machinery parts for the automotive industry and dental/medical fields. For the automotive industry, they purchase rollers, bearings, shafts, terminal, bushings, barb fittings, inserts, valve nozzles, and other micro parts for use in the automotive industry. For dental/medical field, they purchase specialty screws, collets, nozzles, spacers, shafts and other micro parts from all types of medical-grade metals. These are the perfect fit for what I mentioned in the beginning: small size, lightweight, stackable and multiple vendors. I normally start my email conversation with this customer as well as our forwarder in Switzerland to make sure all the needed orders are ready to go. Then our Switzerland agent will arrange to pick up all the consolidated orders to Basel airport to catch the weekend air flight. And this gets to another essential characteristic of air consolidation :

Consolidated air shipments move on a set schedule.

By transporting at set times and with a larger shipment of goods, providers are often able to secure better rates. The majority of air console goes on the weekend schedule or sometimes mid-week scheduled available only if the freight forwarder has a very large volume shipment combined.

After your weekend consolidated cargo airplane wheels up, you will expect the plane grounded the destination airport within a reasonable time. The freight forwarder will nominate its designated warehouse with the airline so that airline agents can release the goods to them. After shipments are properly separated, the forwarder now can work with the importer to order a trucking company to pick up each house shipment. This will normally take 2-3 business days.

The Benefits of Choosing Air Consolidation Services

  • Cheaper than direct fly but much faster than ocean freight

  • If the trucker fails to pickup shipment from the forwarder's nominated warehouse, the importer might pay some amount of storage fees but it is way less than the airline storage charge.

  • Despite occasional weather issue, air freight schedules are pretty reliable

  • With fewer touchpoints, there’s less opportunity for products to be damaged

  • Importers pay less terminal handling charges as this cost is shared with all other consignments.

  • Better control of shipment scheduling

Final thoughts

Air Consolidated shipping is a way to get shipments to their destinations relatively cheap and efficient. Both shippers and importers should understand the way consolidation works and consolidation options so that they can properly plan deliveries. An essential aspect to successful consolidated shipping is using a reliable consolidator with industry experience so you can be sure your shipments will be taken care of.

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