Air freight companies — you don’t know much about them, other than you need to hire one. You’ve got a new customer in China or you’re trying to start up a European market, and it’s time to get serious about understanding how to get your cargo where it needs to go. Check out these eight considerations for choosing an air freight company.
Find air freight companies you can afford…
As companies grow, their leadership is understandably hesitant about making major vendor commitments. If you’re searching through air freight companies for the first time or you’re looking for an upgrade, don’t feel compelled to go with one of the major carriers. Smaller companies may be sufficient for — and more focused on — your needs.
...but don’t cheap out when it comes to air freight companies.
While you don’t want to overshoot when choosing between air freight companies, it’s likewise not smart to underestimate your needs for efficient shipping and great customer service. You might save money using a combination carrier that moves cargo and passengers, for example, but it could cost you later in unexpected delays. If you need more reliability, pay for the certainty of dedicated air freight companies.
Consider whether they offer other modes of freight forwarding…
It’s easier to go with one freight forwarder for all your shipping needs. Whether you’re completely new to freight shipping or you’ve already been moving cargo via ocean carrier or truck, consider looking for air freight companies that also offer other modes. Even if your company only requires services from air freight companies right now, those needs might change.
...but be sure air freight isn’t an afterthought.
Though you want to look for air freight service providers that offer truck, ocean and rail shipping as well, be sure your freight forwarder’s diversity isn’t a detriment to their service. Good air freight companies provide knowledgeable account managers and should have members of the team who are certified cargo agents with the International Air Transport Association.
Find air freight companies with sufficient reach...
You need your cargo to make it where it needs to go — and a little farther. If you haven’t done so yet, create a logistics plan that offers sustainability for the future life of your company. Then, work on identifying air freight companies that can accommodate your growth. When your sales reach expands, you’ll have the stability of a solid partner and you won’t have to go on a search for new air freight companies.
...but be sure their turnaround claim matches capacity.
When you research air freight companies, of course, you’re looking for one you can trust. Take time to consider whether the turnaround times quoted by those companies seem to line up with their capacity to actually move the cargo. Ask them for references, and be cautious of those who say they’re expanding their fleet. You could get your next big order tomorrow and you need to choose from air freight companies who are ready to serve your business now.
Find air freight companies that have security on lock-down...
Shipping via air freight is undoubtedly the most complex and delicate way to get your cargo where it needs to be. Air freight companies cannot afford to be sloppy when it comes to ensuring proper security, assessing insurance value and passing customs requirements. Air freight companies’ reputations carry more weight if they participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
…but don’t forget that customer service is crucial for them.
All the insurance and security in the world doesn’t matter much if air freight companies can’t offer responsive and reliable customer service. The speed of air freight demands on-point communication, and your business can’t afford to do work with companies that lack helpful account agents. Find out whether you’ll have dedicated service and what kind of response you can expect from the air freight companies you’re considering.