More than 100 years after the first propelled flight took place, the transportation of cargo by air, is still the fastest way to transfer goods from one side of the world to another. That is why it is the preferred means of transport for commercial operators at an international level.
However, it is true that the growth experienced by the air cargo sector, according to the data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been in decline in recent months (-4.7%). It seems that this situation out of the ordinary and is, in part, caused by the uncertainty of Europe before Brexit. In addition we also have the thematic commercial tensions that are happening between the United States and China. That said, air transport continues to be a key element for companies engaged in the import and export of goods especially when logistics operations require great speed and efficiency.
What is cargo air transport?
Air cargo transport is the transfer of any type of product from one point to another in the world by air. The aircraft used in these cases have a wider fuselage than the passengers which increases their capacity. In addition, they have a greater number of wheels, a greater stability during the landing as well as an ability to land on less prepared tracks, and have several large doors for a comfortable and efficient entry and exit of goods.
Nowadays air transport, both cargo and passengers, has the aim to reduce the impact it has on the environment. Currently, aircraft models are available with new materials, hybrids and powered by other types of energy, such as solar or electric.
Air cargo transport: Advantages and disadvantages
Air cargo transport has many advantages over other means of transport such as maritime or land transport. However it also has some disadvantages. We detail it below.
Advantages of cargo air transport
- Speed. It allows you to reach any point in the world in just a few hours.
- Flexibility. Flexible schedules and dates that allow any merchandise to reach its destination quickly and efficiently.
- Loading capacity. Although cargo is more limited than in the case of maritime transport, freight aircraft allow the transfer of numerous goods of small, medium and large size.
- Innovation. The air sector is one of the biggest changes in recent years from its speed to its combustion.
- Borders. In the air transport there are not as many physical barriers or customs, as it happens with the rest of means of transport.
- Accessibility. The plane makes it possible to reach practically hidden places, where other means of transport are not able to reach.
- Cargo. It is the ideal way to transport perishable, fragile or high value merchandise.
- Security. It is the safest for the transportation of goods.
- Temperature. It is possible to ensure a specific temperature if necessary.
Disadvantages of cargo air transport
- High cost. It is significantly more expensive than other means of transport.
- Weather. Conditioned by the weather which can cause delays.
- Law. Legal restrictions that must be taken into account depending on the different countries of destination of the merchandise.
- Independence. Air transport must be complemented by land, train or truck. So, it does not count by itself as the only means of transport in commercial operations.
- Limited load. Although the charge is wide it is not infinite.
- Cargo. It does not allow to send all kinds of merchandise. Lithium batteries, liquid products such as fuels or oils, or hazardous materials, such as explosives, gases and other toxic substances, can not be transported.
- Documentation. It is not exempt from paperwork. Declarations, certificates of origin etc., must be completed by the different agents that operate along the entire transport chain.
In which situations should you opt for cargo air transport?
As we have mentioned, air transport is not suitable for all types of merchandise. Generally the goods that are usually transferred through this means of transport are the following:
- Urgent goods
- High volume goods
- Intercontinental urgent mail
- Spare parts and spare parts for land vehicles
- Spare parts for the aerospace industry
- Perishable food
- Materials for fairs and events
- Drugs, vaccines and pharmaceutical products
- Live animals
- Luxury products
- Machinery and accessories for medical use
At Hyland Shipping our commitment is that any type of merchandise reaches its destination safely and in the shortest possible time. Therefore, we optimise our logistics processes to offer an outstanding service, whether through air, sea or land.