International air freight shipping requires a lot of attention to detail in preparing everything for an international move. For this reason, it’s recommended to work with a professional team that is vetted and offers comprehensive shipping options for air freight. Having a professional guide you to pick the right package shipping and choosing the right air carriers. Understanding the complete process as per shipper terms and conditions from a small parcel to over dimensional cargo is important for a stress-free air freight shipment. 

A professional shipping company can assist you in preparing the tedious documentation in order to sail through customs. This is essential, because during the customs clearance, your personal belongings may be inspected, so to avoid any mishaps during this process, it’s important to select the right international air freight experts to walk you through the paperwork and guide you through the moving process. With comprehensive shipping, you’ll receive your goods at your doorstep and even unpacked in your new home abroad. 

We know that having the right team by your side is important, which is why you can access our expat moving platform to speak directly with preferred shipping companies around the world to answer any questions you have and compare global air freight shipping quotes for your move abroad. 

Air Freight Shipping Paperwork

When goods are shipped domestically and internationally, it’s important to know the step-by-step process for a smooth customs clearance and importation process to receive your consignments safely. 

You’ll also learn that the international shipping industry has many terminology, so we’ve listed a few terms and documentation details that you may require for booking global air freight carriers: 

  • Commercial invoice - this invoice includes the name and address of the shipper, payment terms and delivery date
  • Consular invoice - this invoice identifies the list of imported goods 
  • Certificate of origin- this certificate declares the country in which the shipment originated 
  • Inspection certification - this certification is required in several countries to ensure additional inspection has been completed (ex. USA, UK) 
  • NAFTA certificate of origin - this certificate is required in specific shipments between Canada, the United States and Mexico
  • Additional documentation - dangerous good declaration, insurance certificate, and warehouse receipt

As you can see, there is much documentation to move personal goods from one country to another, so it’s important to have all paperwork in place (along with extra copies). In some countries, they may request more documentation as per the government’s importation and exportation guidelines, so be sure to check with your relocation specialist on our expat moving platform so that you can get the exact specific requirements for your shipment overseas. 

Shipping Rates

When you consider air transportation, it can be rather expensive especially when you don’t have a proper plan with best delivery options and shipping solutions. So, it's important to understand that there are many pricing factors to consider for air shipping because it connects the world faster. There are two primary factors when it comes to air carriers:

  • Actual weight 
  • Volume or Dimensional weight 

The air shipping global rule of thumb is to calculate the volumetric weight by multiplying the item’s volume in cubic meters by 167. For example, if the volume for a package is W: 40cm, H: 40cm L:40 could have .064 (the product of all sides divided by one million). Multiply by 167, and you get a volumetric weight of 10.67 kg. If the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight, then it becomes a chargeable weight.

The cost for international shipping heavily depends on the available space, shipping options and air cargo. Also, keep in mind that during the holiday schedule for international shipments, the price surges. 

An alternative shipping method is ocean freight shipping; but ultimately, it’s best to speak with a professional shipping company as rates vary from country to country. 

Shipping Time Frame

Air transportation is the quickest option for shipping personal belongings, especially when there is availability on an aircraft, which depends on the freight forwarders. Express freight international shipments can be the more expensive option, especially for same-day delivery and some countries may require additional paperwork, custom clearance. There are several factors to consider for estimating a timeline for your air freight shipment: 

  • Distance
  • Shipping mode 
  • Route 
  • Season

Shipment timelines vary greatly, so it’s best to speak with a vetted shipping company on our expat moving platform to get immediate quotes, and discuss your shipping arrival date. They can also provide step-by-step guidance from the experienced carriers.

Prohibited Items

Before you pack up your personal belongings to prepare for air freight shipment, you need to understand very clearly the items that are prohibited. Each country and airline has restrictions and guidelines on what is prohibited through customs clearance. Packing the wrong item on the prohibited list can cause a delay in shipment and clearance through customs at the arrival country. 

Here’s a preliminary list of items that are  unsafe via air transport and most commonly are on the prohibited items list for an aircraft: 

  • Explosives
  • Gases
  • Radioactive items
  • Infectious items 
  • Strong magnets

Get familiar with the list of prohibited items to ensure they are not packed and are noted by your shipping company. It’s highly recommended to discuss this in detail with a shipping expert before coordinating an international air freight shipment. 

Benefits of Air Freight Shipping

Though there are various modes of transport, it’s necessary to know which mode best fits your requirement and urgency. If the estimated arrival date is priority to you, then air freight is the best option, as it connects faster and often has high value, low volume shipments. Here are the advantages to help guide you in making the best option: 

  • Fastest shipment method
  • Highly reliable 
  • Low insurance premium 
  • High level of security 
  • Less packaging required 
  • Reduced risk of theft damage
  • Track your shipment 

Whether you plan to coordinate your air freight or ocean freight shipment, it’s important to understand all the steps and paperwork required to book your international shipment as stress free as possible. Speak with our expat-vetted shipping providers to discuss dimensional weight, chargeable weight, best delivery options to safely deliver your goods through air freight carriers.