You are finally ready to start exporting a product you have worked on for years. You wonder if you should take care of shipping yourself or if it would be worth hiring an air freight forwarder. It can be helpful to know what an air freight forwarder does and how they can help you.

An air freight forwarder focuses on the transportation of goods. They are an organizer for importers and exporters. An air freight forwarder can handle transporting your product to and from the airport. They can handle the customs paperwork of your cargo as well. 

What a Freight Forwarder Researches

A freight forwarder looks at every element of the shipping process to determine the bottom line. They will calculate the cost of gas from the time your product leaves your warehouse until the time it arrives at your door. They will determine the entire distance your product has to travel as well.

They will analyze the total cost of shipping by looking at the weight and the value of your packages and the duties you will have to pay. They will figure out the cost of handling your packages.

Negotiating with Carriers

One of the most important parts of an air freight forwarder’s job is getting your product space on an aircraft and negotiating a reasonable price for you. 

The first thing a freight forwarder will do is find out which carriers can accept the type of product you are shipping and that they will be able to take that product where you want it to go. A freight forwarding company will generally have a relationship with several different carriers. There is often limited room available for air freight. Hence, an airline will not charge for weight only. They will calculate weight and space combined.

Shipping something on an airplane is different from shipping it by sea or ground transportation. Certain materials are illegal to ship via the air, and there are other products that will require an extra level of security. 

An air freight forwarder will be able to get a better price than you would be able to get on your own because they often have ongoing agreements with several airlines. They will often ship products for several different clients of theirs on the same flight.

What are waybills?

Whenever a product is shipped by air, the forwarder must fill out a document called a Master Air Waybill (MAWB). The waybill communicates the terms of the contract. This includes the conditions and liability of all of the parties involved in the shipping process.

Putting a waybill together is a complex process. If you do not fill out the paperwork correctly, it can delay the shipment of the product. When a product is not shipped in time, it can affect the entire supply chain.

The waybill will include the proof of delivery (POD) of the product to the carrier. It will also contain instructions for the handling of the cargo. It will detail each party’s role in the shipping process. It contains invoices for the airline and the forwarder as well. The waybill will function as a customs document. It also functions as an insurance certificate. 

A freight forwarding company will often make a House Air Waybill (HWB) for its shipment. This will function as the shipment contract between the end-customer and the forwarder.

Insurance for Product

A freight forwarder will be in charge of ensuring the products that they ship for their clients. A freight forwarding company will carry its own insurance.

Insurance for freight forwarding is a bit more complex than other types of insurance. In addition to covering the cost of damage or loss of the product, the insurance will cover the cost of damage to property when it is in storage.

Regulations for shipping products overseas are often complicated, and even the most trained shipper can make a mistake. A good insurance policy will cover fees for any custom fines or duties as well as any delays that are due to a forwarder’s errors. 

The policy should cover injury to the freight forwarder’s own employee during the shipment process. It will cover legal protection services in case a third party tries to make a bogus claim. 

You have your hands full with manufacturing your product and marketing it to foreign and domestic customers. Air freight shippers can help you with every aspect of the shipping of your goods.