How to Start a Air Freight Business?
If you are contemplating starting a freight forwarding business, you can consider two options: a commercial cargo carrier or a freight forwarder.
Learn from our basic guide what is in common with both businesses and the specific needs of 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. One can enter the air freight business in two ways – as a commercial cargo carrier or freight forwarder.
How to Own an Air Freight Business
If you want to be a cargo carrier, you need a plane or fleet of aircraft to carry cargo from one destination to another. You will not need to own a plane if you are a freight forwarder, but you must use a commercial carrier. 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 of 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 the 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 destination either by boat, car, motorcycle, truck or another smaller plane.
Air Freight Business Must-have
You will need facilities, people, contracts, and software to accomplish these processes. 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 crew your operation, you need able personnel trained especially to handle the 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, particular goods to transport, or a 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 training, visit the websites of the International Air Transport Association, Air Forwarders Association, and International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association.
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