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How to move your Air Freight domestically and internationall

How to move your Air Freight domestically and internationally

In this guide, you will learn how to safely and quickly transport your goods via air.


There are many reasons why companies choose to transport their goods via air. It’s a faster and often safer alternative to shipping cargo on ocean containers. 

What is international air freight shipping? 

Air cargo is typically used by domestic and global importers or exporters to transport their goods and products from one place to another in a timely manner.

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What goods are transported via air? 

Because shipping via air is more expensive, it is usually limited to small, time-sensitive, and high volume goods. Here are some of the categories: 

  • Personal Items 

Example: If a person is relocating overseas, a bulk of their personal items will be shipped via ocean, but their essentials would be sent via air freight for time-efficiency.

  • Raw Materials

Example: Sending 1 pallet of grass seeds to Amsterdam for the grand opening of a new lawn equipment store, because they needed a sample of seeds. Raw materials are usually sent via air for shut down factories or grand openings.

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Electronics
  • Clothing & Apparel
  • Seasonal clothing & trends
  • Documents and Samples - Air is the most cost-effective and quick form of transporting documents domestically or internationally
  • Seasonal Shipments - This is mostly true for seasonal foods, fruits, and vegetables. 

Example: U.S. companies send out thousands of airplanes of cherries to Europe and Asia between the months of April and June as a result of the high demand for cherries during the peak season. 

DID YOU KNOW that animals, such as horses can be transported via air? Orca Whales have been transported via air for ages from one airport to another on specialized containers.

Can I ship anything via air freight shipment? 

No, there are certain goods that you cannot ship without specific certification or permission by federal agencies, origin and destination customs authorities, or other third-party organizations. You need special permission to import or export Dangerous Goods (DG), as well as telecommunication equipment, depending on where it is headed. The Bureau of Industry and Security  (BIS)  takes care of the evaluation process of licenses for exports and re-exports of goods and technology from the United States.

What are Dangerous Goods (DG)? 

The United Nations has compiled a list of nine hazard classes of dangerous goods that are transported domestically and internationally. Following the UN protocol regarding the classifications, helps shippers to safely and successfully deliver their goods to the final destination. 

What are the nine hazard classes for dangerous goods?

The nine hazard classes for dangerous goods are as follows: 

The 9 Hazard Classes

Class 1: Explosive Materials 
Class 2: Gases
Class 3: Flammable Liquids
Class 4: Flammable Solids
Class 5: Oxidizing Substances and Organic Pesticides
Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances
Class 7: Radioactive Materials
Class 8: Corrosive Materials
Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods 

DID YOU KNOW that many airlines have strict regulations against shipping lithium batteries? Even though they may seem harmless to you the airline may not be able to move the freight.

Who can handle my products?

Only certified freight forwarders or logistics firms can handle the transportation of your hazardous materials. While there are very few logistics companies that can do this, Freight Right is one of the few to have in-house logisticians who are IATA Standard DG certified, which gives the company a special permission to deliver products within 7 out of the 9 categories of hazardous materials.

Here’s a chart that shows the hazardous products that Freight Right can handle for you: 

The 9 Hazard Classes

Freight Right Permission


Class 1: Explosive Materials Not Permitted
Class 2: GasesPermitted
Class 3: Flammable LiquidsPermitted
Class 4: Flammable SolidsPermitted
Class 5: Oxidizing Substances and Organic PesticidesPermitted
Class 6: Toxic and Infectious SubstancesPermitted
Class 7: Radioactive MaterialsNot Permitted
Class 8: Corrosive MaterialsPermitted

Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods 

*With a specialty in the transportation of  Lithium Batteries


What’s faster, air or ocean shipping? 

Despite the fact that 90% of all goods are shipped via ocean container ships, air shipping is much faster. For instance, if you ship goods from China to the U.S. via ocean, it’ll take the ship about 20-30 days to reach the destination, while with air shipping, it’s 10 times faster. The cargo will reach the destination in 2-3 days after the pickup of goods.

Is air freight shipment expensive?

Air is the most expensive mode of transport, which is 5 times more expensive than moving your product on trucks, and 16 times more expensive than moving it on a container ship. Moving your cargo via air from Shenzhen, China to New York can cost about $1,200 when transported by ocean, and $4,000 by air. The price triples in this case. 

How is the cost of air shipping calculated? 

Weight and volume play an indicative role when calculating the price of an air cargo shipment. Air carriers charge by either volumetric weight, which is the dimensional or actual weight of your cargo. This is the chargeable or gross weight of the goods. 

In the case of oversize freight where any dim exceeds the dimensions of 125 x 88 x 63 inches, the airlines may charge a higher volume rate, depending on how much space it takes up on the airplane.

How can I calculate the volumetric weight of my goods? 

To calculate the volumetric weight of your goods, you must first multiply the item’s volume in cubic meters by 167. In the case that the volumetric weight is larger than the actual weight of the goods, then it is considered chargeable weight. 

Simplified: To calculate the volumetric weight of goods, you should follow this formula:

 Length x Width x Height / 366 = volume weight or to convert cubic feet = cubic feet * 1728 / 366 equals volume weight.