Air transport / air cargo is the second fastest method of transport, after space travel. Jets can reach speeds of up to 955 kilometers per hour (593 mph) and a considerably higher ground speed if there is a jet stream tailwind. This celerity comes with higher cost and energy use.
Air cargo is used by global importers and exporters when they need to get goods somewhere rapidly. While 90% of everything is shipped by ocean freight, air connects the world faster, cutting China-US freight shipping time from approximately 25 days by ocean to less than 5 days by air cargo.
International air freight and express freight shipments are not the same thing.
Express freight is typically handled by one company (like DHL, UPS or FedEx) that handles the entire shipment lifecycle, with shipping from door to door in under five days. These shipments are usually smaller (less than one cubic meter and 200 kilograms) than air freight.
International air freight shipments can be significantly larger and may move across multiple carriers during shipment. As a matter of fact, the largest cargo airplane, the Anatov 225 – can hold an entire train.
International Air Freight Charges: What are the costs for shipping by air?
When it comes to air freight, weight and volume are key factors. Air carriers will charge by either volumetric weight (also known as dimensional weight) or actual weight, depending on which is more expensive.
The global rule of thumb is to calculate the volumetric weight is to multiple the item’s volume in cubic meters by 167. The volume is for a package that is W: 40cm, H: 40cm L:40 would have a .064 (the product of all sides divided by one million). Multiple by 167, and you get a volumetric weight of 10.67 kg.
If the volumetric weight exceeds the actual weight of the product, the volumetric weight becomes the chargeable weight. For light shipments, use this chargeable weight calculator to work out whether your shipment will be charged by actual weight or dimensional weight.