Did you know that more than 95 percent of global shipments are transported via air?

The demand for air freight transportation is on the rise as companies realize the benefits of employing this mode. However, the document requirements and terminology of air freight are distinct. Those who are new to air freight may find this information overwhelming.

Depending on the destination country and the type of goods you’re exporting, you might need some or all of the various forms listed below.

Before packing for air cargo shipping, make sure you have the following documents:

  • A letter of instruction from the shipper to the airline or freight forwarder
  • A commercial invoice indicating what is being shipped and its value
  • A packing list showing the contents of each package
  • If required by the destination country, a certificate of origin
  • If required by the airline, a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI)
  • If shipping dangerous goods, a declaration form and other special documentation
  • Ensure that all documents are signed and dated

Most shipping firm offers everyday services to worldwide destinations. Nevertheless, this service is only available if the documentation is complete and accurate.

1. Commercial Invoice

Air Freight Cargo Commercial Invoice

The initial document a business will require is a commercial invoice. This will be a detailed document containing a breakdown of every item they will ship. In addition to a description of each item, the value of the item and the total value of the shipment are also provided.

This paperwork will also identify the shipper and seller and their respective locations. And it will be utilized by the seller to demonstrate ownership of the shipment.

2. Consular Invoice

A consular invoice is necessary to regulate and identify imported products in certain countries. In most cases, the invoice needs to be created in the language of the country to which the products are being transported, and it must be obtained from the consulate of the country to which the goods are being shipped.

3. Certificate of Origin

This document is used to verify the country of origin of a shipment. Since the rules and regulations for clearing customs vary from country to country, knowing the country of origin is crucial. Typically, a semi-official authority attests to the authenticity of the Certificate of Origin. There are situations where the commercial invoice is sufficient, but there are others in which the Certificate of Origin is necessary.

4. Bill of lading

The shipper, consignee, items, and quantities are all detailed on the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading serves as a contract between the items’ owner and the transporter. Domestic transport is the same in this respect. Bills of Lading might be one of two distinct varieties. There can be no haggling over a straight Bill of Lading. On the other hand, a shipper’s order Bill of Lading can be bought, sold, or swapped before or during the shipment. It is a standard payment method in business dealings, including letters of credit. The customer normally needs the original Bill of Lading or a duplicate of it in order to show proof of ownership and get the goods.

5. Letter of authorization

An L.O.A is a document that authorizes an individual or company to act on behalf of another party. This could be for shipping goods, providing services, or anything else where someone else is needed to represent the interests of the party granting the authorization. The L.O.A will contain information on who is authorized, what they are authorized to do, and any limits on that authority. It is important to have a clear and concise L.O.A. so that there is no confusion about what is allowed.

6. Airway bill

The air waybill is the primary document used in international air cargo shipping. It is a contract between the shipper and the carrier that outlines the terms and conditions of transport, including liability for lost or damaged goods. The air waybill also serves as a receipt for the goods shipped.

7. Proof of identification

When shipping air cargo, you must provide proof of identification for both yourself and the recipient. This can be in the form of a passport, driver’s license, or government-issued ID. You will also need to provide a copy of the bill of lading, which is the document that proves ownership of the goods being shipped.

8. Storage agreement

When you are ready to ship your cargo via air, you will need to sign a storage agreement with the airline. This agreement spells out the terms and conditions of your storage arrangement, including the length of time that the cargo will be stored, the type of container used, and the like.

Be sure to read this agreement carefully before signing it, as it will likely be binding on you. If you have any questions about the agreement, be sure to ask them before you sign.

9. Certificate of insurance

One of the most important documents needed for air cargo shipping is the Certificate of Insurance. This document will outline the insurance coverage that is in place for your shipment and will protect you in the event that something goes wrong during transit.

Without a Certificate of Insurance, you could be left responsible for any damages or losses to your shipment, so it’s important to ensure that you have this document in place before your cargo leaves your place.

10. Labour charges vouchers

This document is issued by the airline and indicates the charges for various handling services performed by their staff on behalf of the shipper. It includes items such as loading and unloading the aircraft, palletizing and de-palletizing cargo, and providing the necessary equipment for handling the shipment.

Know the importance of proper documentation

While it may be difficult to ensure the correctness and completeness of your freight documents, it is essential to do so.

Even minor mistakes and omissions can have grave repercussions, such as:

  • Delayed delivery of your merchandise
  • Failure to dispatch your items
  • Price of prolonged storage (until appropriate documentation is received)
  • Penalties for missing or inaccurate paperwork
  • Lack of payment by the recipient

Shipping Goods Via Air and Beyond for Air freight Cargo

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