Asparagus grown in South America travels to Australia, by way of North America, and is on store shelves no more than three days after being picked. Museum art exhibits packed in specially designed crates travel with curators at all times. Live Atlantic lobsters cross the Pacific Ocean and are available for pick up 26 hours after tender. Car parts manufactured in Japan are shipped weekly to Brazil for just-in-time manufacturing.
These stories are only possible because shipping by air cargo is widely available. Though expensive, air shipping enables goods to crisscross the world with remarkable speed. Here are some additional advantages that aren’t as obvious at first glance:
- Reduced insurance premiums – Insurance carriers may charge shippers lower premiums because air cargo moves under a highly controlled and secured environment from tender to retrieval, transit times are significantly shorter compared to other modes of transportation, and reduced handling diminishes the risk of damage and theft.
- Lower inventory carrying costs – In some industries, frequently transporting small amounts of inventory by air is less expensive than shipping one large container that takes several weeks from origin to destination. Less money is invested in inventory tied up during transportation and shippers can manage inventory more efficiently since it turns faster.
- Efficient supply chain enabler – Only with air cargo can one effectively ship time- and temperature-sensitive medicines, food and perishables to distant destinations. Air cargo follows specific tender, connection and retrieval times within a very extensive network of origins and destinations. Products arrive within hours as opposed to the days or weeks that other modes of transportation take. In addition, sometimes air is the only viable method to reach a destination, such as a rural area or remote island.
Although air freight service can be more expensive than other modes of transportation, the benefits outweigh the additional costs for many industries, products and markets.