Home » Air Freight Pricing – What they Do Not Tell You

Air Freight Pricing – What they Do Not Tell You

Air Freight Pricing – What they Do Not Tell You

Moving goods via commercial or specialist aircraft has become an essential feature of the transport industry. But, according to a Reuters report, air cargo rates in Dubai have surged since the Covid-19 pandemic. 


In the face of this prevailing business challenge, it’s still possible to move your products by air – with the correct information. 


This article, we’ll go over the air freight products and regular air freight terms that affect or help you choose the appropriate pricing when forwarding air freight. 

The Major Forms of Air Freight

When dealing with air freight, logistics companies offer variety of services to individuals and businesses. These typically come in three (3) service levels; Standard, Premium, and Express shipping. 


As you would expect, these products mainly differ by costs and speed of delivery. Let’s briefly go over each one. 

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General Economy / Standard Air Freight

Firstly, there’s the Standard freight option. It is the most cost-effective mode of moving goods by air of all the air freight products. 


Standard air freight is ideal for shippers seeking a less expensive yet fast and reliable cargo transport. This normally involves shipments that must be delivered quickly but not within a critical time period. 


These refer to general goods and lower deck air freight cargo for all possible commodities and dimensions transported in air freight. 


Goods are carried by regular passenger or special freight airlines and move within 4 to 7 days from one airport to another. Multiple shipments are usually consolidated together in back-to-back, branch-to-branch to branch consolidation. 


Uplift occurs within five days of any possible/available flight. Though you cannot track the progress of your goods, carriers offer dedicated customer service for inquiries. Port of discharge (POD) usually occurs 24 hours after passing customs clearance. 

Air Freight Now / Premium

Next up, we have the flexible Premium air freight service with air cargo rates UAE for expedited shipping. Premium offers a competitive rate to Express shipping, but within a more predictable/expected delivery time than Standard air freight. 


Goods transported involve a variety of cargo with specific, commodity-bound handling requirements. The Premium service is ideal for delivering your goods just in time within a short time frame. 


Air freight usually moves from airport to airport within 2 to 4 days. The Premium service option allows you to select a choice carrier and routing service. 


In terms of consolidation, you get back-to-back, direct, or consolidated services, and flight takes place within three days of the subsequent available/possible uplift. 


Goods are handled as a priority, and while in transit, trace and trace visibility is available in real-time. And, within 8 hours of custom clearance, you get POD confirmation. 

Air Freight Express / Super Fast

Express air freight is the fastest of the 3 freight services. It’s perfect for goods that need to be carried in the most time-sensitive and ultra-urgent fashion. 


Naturally, these goods must be shipped with the next flight out to their destinations. For mostly high-value shipments, they’ll need a personal touch throughout from packaging to final delivery. 


Essentially, an Express air freight service offers the highest speed available with an equally high-reliability rate in transporting your goods with express air cargo rates UAE. 


Transit time from one airport to the other happens between 24 to 48 hours. Goods are carried by passenger airlines, ensuring direct or no consolidation. 


Uplift of goods generally happens with the next possible flight out (within 24 hours), with the advantage of fast processing and priority handling at departure and arrival. 


Also, you can trace the movement of your goods with an express service. POD confirmation occurs less than 2 hours of customs clearance. 


Typical cargo types are general cargo, either main or lower deck cargo, and onboard courier. 

Common Air Freight Terms You Should Know to Negotiate Better with Freight Forwarders

In arranging air freight, you can outsource the operations to a 3PL that handles everything from packing and shipping to warehousing and order fulfillment. 


You may not need all the services of a 3PL. As a result, you can hire a freight forwarder to handle the shipping and delivery process. 


A freight forwarder is usually responsible for booking your air freight, handling customs and insurance issues, providing advice generally on air freight, as well as performing a whole lot of other duties. 


They operate like travel agents, but for cargo rather than passengers. So, they often offer the best deals to transport your air freight. 


However, it is crucial to understand vital freight terms to ensure you’re getting the right deal for you when dealing with freight forwarders. Let’s look at some of them below. 

Direct Air Waybill (DAWB)

A freight forwarder issues a master airway bill (MAWB), a document which contains information about a shipment, to a carrier. When the MAWB lists the actual exporter/importer, not the airfreight agent, as the shipper of a good, this is a Direct Air Waybill (DAWB). 


It’s also rendered for direct shipments of express goods and where the freight is not consolidated with other air cargo. You do not have to wait for cargo transfer with this service as it is not moved to any off-site forwarder warehouse. 

One House Air Way Bill (1HAWB)

One House Air Way Bill (HAWB) shows the carrying agent as the shipper. 


The 1HAWB signifies that the freight forwarder is obligated to deliver your goods to any previously agreed destination. 

Master Air Way Bill (MAWB)

MAWB is a bill issued by the carrier of a good to a freight forwarder after the forwarding agent has received the shipment. The forwarder then moves the shipment to a previously named location stated in the shipping agreement. 

House Air Waybill (HAWB)

Contrary to the MAWB, the House Air Waybill (HAWB) is issued by a forwarding agent to a carrier/shipper after receiving a shipment. 


It shows the conditions specified for transporting the goods, as well as a confirmed agreement to deliver to a selected destination. 

Direct Shipping

Direct air freight refers to the shipment delivery directly to a customer, excluding the cargoes belonging to other importers. Shipment is classified as single under one MAWB.  

Back-to-Back Shipment

Similar to direct shipment, this service is used when customers want to ship multiple goods under a single MAWB. However, its costly as a customer is required to fill an entire scheduled plane hold.  

Co load Shipment

Coloading occurs when a freight forwarder transfers goods to another freight forwarder or a consolidator. Its common with less than truckload (LTL) for saving costs on transportation, inventory, and damage to goods. 

Consolidated Air Freight Shipment

Also called consol, this shipment involves goods from multiple customers transported together by air, with each consignment having its HAWB.  


Contrary to back-to-back shipment, you get cheaper shipping rates as you’re utilizing a portion, rather than all, of the cargo space.  

Key Takeaway

Knowing the available service levels for arranging air freight is a necessary bit of information. However, it’s also equally vital to engage in productive negotiations and air cargo rates UAE when dealing with freight forwarders or forwarding agents. 


An essential tip is to become familiar with the common terminology of the air freight business. With this knowledge, you’ll quickly realize that understanding air freight is less of a myth than it is claimed to be. 

Our customer service team is happy to assist you with planing your next booking.


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