air freight operation procedure

Event Logistics: Managing Roadshow Events

Marketing Event Logistics

Event logistics planning should be detailed, especially when it involves air freight. The fact is that both the event and the air freight involved are expensive. Timing is the primary factor. Since Event logistics can get complicated, it is best to break down the process into sections and subsections.

Large Event Logistics Checklist

  1. Time
  2. Cost
  3. Freight
    – Packaging
    – Labelling
    – Measurements
    – List
  4. Customs
    – Export -> Documents
    – Re-export -> Documents
    – Import -> Documents
  5. Document storage
  6. Transport
    – road transport
    – air shipping
  7. Personnel
    – Own staff
    – Forwarder staff (co-ordination!)
  8. Location
  9. Equipment
  10. Contact and Communication

1. Time

event logistics

  • One of the key point in logistics is timing. While planning this point, you need to take into consideration:Delays : material supply, lorry arrival or departure, driver drops out, holidays, traffic tailback etc.
  • Customs : inspection, demand for more papers, bureaucracy,
  • Equipment : not available or wrong equipment (pallet-jack too big, or too small, or too wide

2. Cost

Event logistics as a single factor may not be exorbitantly expensive. However, certain elements can increase cost. Make a list of all possible points such as

  • Waiting charge – lorry company might charge extra  if the driver has to wait! usually amount per hour or half an hour. add-on! This is needed only if contract is only for a delivery, after which the lorry does not have to wait for the end of the event
  • Pick up cost – how many lorries will be required? Is a tail-lift needed? Many companies charge extra for a vehicle equipped with a tail lift
  • Weight Volume ratio – Is the volume factor higher than the total gross weight per package?
  • Repackaging – transport can damage packaging. Repackaging might be needed. Airlines don’t accept goods with visible damage.
  • Replacing transport pallet – if the freight pieces are on pallets, which are damaged, you need to have a possibility to replace them or repair them.
  • Damage to equipment – damage might involve, power failure, equipment replacement etc.
  • Communication charges : telephone charges, fax charges, mobile charges are very expensive

3.0. Freight

3.1. Packaging

Your equipment may be sensitive and expensive. A strong packaging is needed to keep the items safe during transport.

  • Sturdy – Use sturdy cartons.  Seal the lower part.
  • waterproofing – may not needed but is good to do. Use waterproofing inside the cartons
  • Wood – MUST be IPPC standard. IPPC logo MUST be visible. That applies to dunnage, as well. Particle boards are exempt.
    Refer to the article on wood packaging materials.
  • Air Freight Security measure : Seal ALL slits. Any opening is classified as ” risk of manipulation”
  • Foils : use transparent foils for wrapping the outside. Talk to your freight forwarder. Certain countries demand black foils
  • On pallet please : Your freight forwarder cannot move freight by hand. Use pallets so that pallet-jacks can be used for transport
  • Dangerous goods : CAUTION: Lithium batteries! talk to your freight forwader. Certain batteries may not be permitted on passenger aircraft. Please note that airlines differentiate between “lithium batteries contained in equipment” and “lithium batteries” shipped separately
  • No Overhang: freight should fit within the inner area of the pallet! Space management.

3.2. Labelling

Customs might order an inspection. The officers do not have much time as they need to inspect other cargo as well. You may not have much time either! Event logistics must go fast. Hence, it is important to note the following points

  • Have a list of all your equipment
  • In the list give numbers: which item is in which box
  • Label the cartons with the corresponding numbers
  • Each carton/crate must have a label of the contents. Saves you time!
  • Ask the freight forwarder if anything special needs to be mentioned on the outside
  • Labels must be waterproof and may not fall off the cartons
  • Do not attach GPS equipment to pieces (locating purpose) without consulting the freight forwarder. Such equipment may not be permitted by airlines
  • Let the pieces carry the event label. so that airport staff can keep the freight together

3.3. Air Freight Packaging Guidelines – A Quick Reference To Dimensions

Outer measurements are the ones that the freight forwarder needs. the sequence is always

  1. number of pieces
  2. length
  3. width
  4. height
  5. unit (cm or in)

Round up the measurements. It helps to be on the safe side.

Include the pallet while measuring!

Refer to the floor load tolerance article here, if your equipment includes heavy weight goods

3.4. Checklist – Keep It Short and Consise

Equipment list is an indispensable document! Make a well organised list.

Number the items and note the carton number ( which item is in which carton!)

Include short descriptions Not long names.

Include serial numbers (customs may ask). This is important when the pieces return the country of export.

4. 0. Customs – Inseparable Part of International Air Freight

4.1. Export

What documents do your local customs authority demand?

If you are using ATA Carnet – do NOT damage the metal seal attached to the document. Do not detach any sheet from the document.

Is an export permit required? Your Customs Permit authority might need 4 to 6 weeks for issuing the permit. Ask in advance. Keep the original. Make copies

Export Declaration might be needed as per your country regulation. cut off time for submission to customs?

What documents do the customs authorities in the country of destination demand?

Always get in writing. Make a check list.

4.2. Re-export

After the exhibition the freight forwarder at the airport of departure will need to go through the re-export formalities there.

  • Make a list in advance of all the requirements. The freight forwarder who exports from your country will have a partner agent in the country of the event.
  • Ask for the timing required. Customs offices might close early. You need to know when the freight needs to be tendered for customs approval.

4.3. Import – Returning to the Country After the Large Event

After the event, your equipment will return. You need to hand over any necessary papers the freight forwarder might need

Keep a list so that you don’t lose time

If freight gets stuck at the customs, demurrage charges will arise! It is almost  always an amount per kilo per day. Between the volume weight and gross weight the higher weight might be taken for calculation

  • Arrange for door delivery
  • Before signing off the delivery receipt check for damage and mention it on the receipt
  • ALWAYS sign off “Received Pending Assessment”.
  • Inspect the goods IMMEDIATELY
  • Table a letter of liability IMMEDIATELY (Letter of Liability Without Prejudice Pending Claim)
  • Report lost items within 7 days or within the limits prescribed in your country.

5. Document Storage

Always store excellent copies of ALL documents in such a way that your staff can access them in the country of destination

Keep the documents on your person. The customs authorities might demand them. Especially ATA Carnet is, as per rules, required to be at the location of the equipment.

6.0 Transport

6.1. Road Transport – Mini Checklist

  • Keep the freight ready before the lorry arrives.
  • Waiting time will be charged
  • Have one or two pallet jacks ready.
  • If your store-room or warehouse has no ramp, you need to inform the lorry company. A tail-lift will be necessary
  • Forklift available?
  • Is an articulated lorry needed? If yes, can it drive in? Can it dock?

6.2. Air Transport – Points to Note for Shipping By Air

  • Check for dangerous goods!
  • Do not use old cartons. If you do, then they should be strong. If they are cartons certified for dangerous goods, remove the signs. Else the airline will refuse the goods, thinking that they are hazardous. Zero tolerance here!
  • Avoid overhand on pallets. Freight should not project out of the pallet perimeter!
  • Give the freight forwarder the right dimensions. No guessing! Airlines check
  • Demand the Air Waybill (AWB) from the freight forwarder. It will be a House Air Waybill (HAWB)
  • Do not ask the freight forwarder for the Master Air Waybill. It is only for the freight forwarder (contract between two agents)
  • Use a reliable airline!
  • Ask for the airline and the flight route BEFORE signing the contract!

6.3 Personnel

Your Staff

  • Assign roles to your staff.
  • Who does what.
  • Who accompanies the freight? or When do they fly?
  • Who will be available for contact when freight arrives at destination
  • Does he or she have the documents, information etc?

6.4 Freight Forwarder

  • Who is your point of contact
  • His or her contact details: email, mobile phone, alternate telephone (landline)
  • Availability
  • If he not in office who will replace him?
  • Contact details of the agent in the country of destination
  • Who will be co-ordinating the freight?

7.0 Location

  • Booking dates confirmed?
  • Rooms allocated?
  • Event rooms inspected?
  • Flooring= Marble or mosaic? If yes, you cannot use pallet jacks. You need carpets or cartons
  • Storage facility available?
  • Is the storage close to the even rooms?
  • Raised threshold? If yes you will have problem rolling in the pallet jacks!
  • Closing timings: when can the freight forwarder tender the freight? when can it be retrieved?
  • Parking area: can the freight forwarder park his vehicle. He may need time before he can drive off.
  • Lifts for large equipment available at the event location?
  • Pallet jacks available at the venue? If not, your freight forwarder in the country of destination has to lend you one or two. charges?!

8.0 Equipment

Have a list of equipment you need

  1. Pallet jack in your warehouse
  2. Pallet jack at destination
  3. Forklift available in your warehouse? At destination?
  4. Power adapters! country of destination will have a different socket size!
  5. Emergency lights
  6. Secure boxes with locks (number locks please! Have had stories of keys lost) to store expensive equipment
  7. Mobile phones and chargers!

9.0 Contact And Communication

If communication breaks down, your show can be ruined.  arrangements to be made for cases when mobiles phones do not function! Last but not the least you need Patience and a level head!

10. A few airlines

  1. Lufthansa Cargo
  2. Air France/KLM/Martin Air
  3. Cargolux
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Qatar Airways
  6. American Airlines Cargo

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