Floor load capacity limit

Air Freight Export – Your First Consignment

supath logo

Your First Air Freight Export

You have just acquired an order and it is to be you first air freight export. You are not sure about the procedures to be followed. You wish to keep the business expanding and the customer satisfied. All you need to do is to go through a systematic preparation and implementation. Read more on the excellent blog Air Cargo – How It Works: Forwarding out.

First Things First: Information Needed For Air Freight Export

You have the contact details for correspondence: Names, email addresses, telephone and fax numbers, name of the department etc. Keep a note of the deadline for shipping. Look up the holidays in the country of the consignee. If consignments stay in the customs warehouse due to holidays demurrage charges will arise! Don’t let your first air freight export give you unpleasant surprises.


Use the incoterms in the correct way, so that the freight forwarder does not have to call you and check. Time is precious

EXW, named place

FCA, named place

DAP, named place. Additional information: excluding customs clearance (if you are not paying that)


Do you wish to have insurance cover executed by the freight forwarder? If you do, you “must” inform the freight forwarder in writing.


  • Commercial invoices showing the details of the items very clearly. Please include the HS Code (also called HTS code)  8 digits
  • Packing list. In some countries it is mandatory. It must include clear and detailed information about the items sold
  • Minimum of 3 copies of the commercial invoices, all of them preferably carrying your signature (as far as possible use blue ink)
  1. Is a certificate of origin required?
  2. If you in Europe and are shipping to Turkey, you need an ATR
  3. If you are shipping to India, you need a Country of Origin Certificate
  4. If you are shipping to China and there is no wood used in packaging you need to include a Non-Wood Packing Declaration
  5. In certain countries the term “pro forma” on the invoice will create difficulties for customs clearance.
  6. Some countries need  a Legalised Invoice
  7. If you are shipping to Brazil, the consignee’s tax registration number is needed in the address and is mandatory on the air way bill.

For points 1 to 6, write to your customer and get a list of documents needed. Always keep good digital copies read with you. Mail the documents in advance to the consignee.

If you are shipping dangerous goods, please let the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) go with the consignment. Check the documents and the consignment before despatching the SLI (Shipper’s Letter of Instructions). If any mistake is found dangerous goods recheck fee can be high!

Packaging For Air Freight

For wooden packaging use only  treated wood! ISPM emblem must be visible!

Avoid overhang if using pallets. Consignment on pallets must occupy the space within the pallet.

No wobbly contents! Secure the content with dunnage.

The pieces must carry details of the shipper and the consignee

No slits or openings permitted in air freight! All slits to be sealed

If the contents may not be x-rayed, please mention this on the top surface. Additionally mention it in your SLI

Any special labels needed? FRAGILE, DO NOT THROW etc.

Freight Forwarder

If your consignee is paying for the freight, he will decide the freight forwarder

Your freight forwarder will need a time window for picking up the freight. Send them the SLI  as early as possible.

Freight forwarders prefer to receive the documents by email.

The Shipper’s Letter of Instruction is a binding contract between you and the freight forwarder

Resources Centre

Anybody needing help or advice to plan air freight, please get in touch using the contact form below. However, consultation with your freight forwarder/air cargo agent cannot be stressed enough. 


Your feedback is important. Please share your thoughts and ideas. They are welcome.


Experts in the field: please point out any errors or changes. A feedback from readers will be highly appreciated. Please share your thoughts by commenting. Any recommendation on bettering the content is welcome and will be highly appreciated.


    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)


    Your Message


    References for air freight

    Air cargo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Air cargo is any property carried or to be carried in an aircraft. Air cargo comprises air freight, air express and airmail. Contents. [hide]. 1 Aircraft types; 2 History.

    Air cargo tracking – track-trace

    The air cargo tracking page lets you track air cargo for 177 airlines. A track-trace service.

    Air Cargo Service | Air Freight Shipping & Air Cargo Transport | AA …

    American Airlines offers air cargo service on virtually every flight we operate to destinations around the globe. Visit aa.com to learn more.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *