How to Start a Air Freight Business
If you are contemplating starting a freight forwarding business, there are two ways you can take: a commercial cargo carrier or freight forwarder.
Learn from our basic guide what is in common with both businesses as well as what are the specific needs for each type of air cargo business.
Starting an air freight business is not for the faint of heart or the would-be businessman. The fact that it is an air business means it is high-tech, expensive and complicated big time. There are two ways one can enter the air freight business – as a commercial cargo carrier or as a freight forwarder.
How to Own an Air Freight Business
If you want to be a cargo carrier, what you need most is a plane or fleet of planes to carry cargo from destination to another. You will not need to own a plane if you are a freight forwarder, but you will have to use a commercial carrier, just the same. For both, you will need to have existing contacts in other states or countries, a network of offices, agents or partners to facilitate the movement of cargo from one place to another, extensive knowledge on international air transport rules, and sharp business acumen.
Air Transport Business Processes
The transport of packages by air involves these major steps: the procurement of the papers to allow transport of goods, the carrying of the goods by air from the point of origin to a major city with an airport, and the transportation of the goods from the airport to the specific point of destination either by boat, car, motorcycle, truck or another smaller plane.
Air Freight Business Must-have
To accomplish these processes you will need facilities, people, contracts and software. For the facilities, you will need a warehouse or an office for the in-between storage of goods and merchandise. You might also need trucks, or delivery vans to carry the shipment by land. Or you will have to secure a contract with smaller trucking delivery services. And it is a must that you have an efficient tracking system to monitor shipment. And to man your operation, you need able personnel that are trained especially to handle the special working conditions of an air freight business. Expect to meet sensitive, explosive and highly wound situations.
If you are a smaller operator, the best way to succeed is to find a specific market to serve, specific goods to transport or specific destination (one that doesn’t have an air forwarder yet). Some freight forwarders specialize in carrying military cargo, or medical-related goods. Make a carefully researched business plan before starting.
For additional help and for trainings, visit the websites of the International Air Transport Association, Airforwarders Association , and International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association.
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