As the world has shrunk into a global village, the need for cargo services has increased tremendously. Though Qatar is a small country, its crucial geographical location and the presence of Hamad International Airport and Hamad Port have positioned it as a key player in the global trade market. The potential of Air cargo services to transport goods quickly, cost-effectively and safely across international borders has significantly contributed to this transformation by speeding up the logistics operations.
What is Air Cargo?
Air Cargo also known as air freight refers to the transportation of goods through aircraft. Air freight contributes to more than 30% of international trade by value. Both passenger flights and commercial flights can carry air cargo. Air cargo services are a crucial link in the global supply chain accelerating the flow of goods quickly and efficiently over long distances.
Air cargo is a key component of the logistics industry which revolutionized the way businesses operate. Most freight forwarders provide air cargo services. This mode of transport connects businesses, distributors and consumers. It provides speed and a flexible shipping experience.
Different types of Air Cargo?
All the goods transported using aircraft are air cargo, however, it can be anything from expensive materials to live animals. If you rely on a freight forwarder, they may or may not help you with all types of cargo. Generally, air cargo is differentiated into general cargo and special cargo.
General cargo refers to a wide range of goods that do not require specific handling such as electronics, machinery parts, medical supplies and clothing. It’s the go-to choice for businesses of various sizes and in various sectors, as it simplifies packaging and handling, ensuring efficient and swift shipping.
Special cargo refers to Goods that require special handling, packaging and storage. A variety of items come under this category including, fragile cargo, hazardous materials, live animals, temperature-controlled goods, etc. Most cargo services in Qatar allow the transportation of special cargo.
These materials cause significant risk to safety, health, or property. They will be carried, once the risk they cause is reduced to acceptable levels and the safety of aircraft and personnel is ensured. Due to the danger involved, the regulations imposed by the International Air Transport Association are followed. Dangerous goods include explosives, flammable gasses,liquids and solids, radioactive materials, magnetized materials, corrosives, and microorganisms.
Perishable cargo is those goods that have less shelf life. It is important to make them reach their destination as fast as possible to maintain it in the right shape. Perishable goods include meats, fruits and vegetables, flowers and dairy products.
From pets to animals to zoos are transported through air cargo. However, this facility might not be provided by every freight forwarder. Certain global standards are to be followed while transporting live animals.
Fragile cargo refers to goods that are susceptible to damage if they are handled roughly. These include glassware, earthenware, works of art, sculptures and devices like TV.
Temperature-controlled cargo is crucial for businesses requiring precise temperature conditions during transit, especially in industries like pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and food processing. It relies on advanced containers and monitoring to ensure goods arrive undamaged. IATA Temperature Control Regulations offer guidance on packaging and handling.
Process of Air Cargo Shipping
Sending your goods might seem to be a simple task, however, the process of shipping has several steps. The very first step is to book with an air carrier. The freight forwarder you are associating with will book the aircraft. You need to furnish details regarding the source, destination, distance, type of goods and the time within which the cargo should reach the destination.
The next step is to prepare necessary documents for shipping such as commercials, bill of lading invoice, etc. Before shipping, the cargo will be meticulously wrapped and labeled for easy identification and shipment. Then the cargo is shifted to the aircraft. The airplane flies to the destination port. The shipment is thoroughly checked and cleared to allow it in the target country. Once customs clearance is done, the goods are delivered to the recipient.
Benefits of Air Cargo Services
Air Cargo has numerous benefits. These include:
1. Speedy Shipping
Speed of the shipment is assured by Air cargo. Air Cargo is ideal for time-sensitive goods such as perishable items. Apart from that, it also provides you with dependable arrival and departure times.
2. Delivery across the globe
Air cargo can help you deliver the items anywhere. With a vast network of airlines, it is possible to transport goods to any location across the globe.
3. Security of goods
Security and safety of your goods is of utmost importance and with air cargo you can confirm that. The airports and terminals are under strict observation. Every shipment that arrives and leaves will be strictly monitored. This offers additional security when compared with others
4. Cost of packaging
As the goods are shipped quickly, the storage time will be negligible. Therefore, there is less need for packing materials, which reduces packaging costs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Air Cargo Services
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of air cargo over other modes of transportation?
Air cargo operates with great speed. It is the most reliable and secure option and allows the goods to be transported even to the remotest locations. Air cargo is most suited for expensive and time-sensitive cargo. However, it is more expensive than sea freight and land freight. Limited carrying capacity and the need for specialized packing are disadvantages.
What is the typical duration for air cargo transportation?
The time taken varies according to the distance to the destination, customs clearance procedure, etc. Usually, air cargo takes 1-4 days.
- What distinguishes air freight from air cargo?
Air cargo means any goods transported by air, irrespective of their nature or value while air freight refers to time-sensitive or high-value goods that are transported by air.
- What items are not allowed in air cargo?
Items such as explosive and hazardous materials are not allowed in air cargo due to security concerns. Certain weapons, pets, etc. are also not allowed in air cargo in some cases.