Documents Used in International Trade -HOWTO

Documents Used in International Trade – Introduction

Why is the topic Documents Used in International Trade so important? Why should an article be dedicated to it?  All shipments need documents. So why highlight the topic? As most of the articles on this site, this one, too, is kept as simple as possible. Written for shippers and consignees. It is a small concise  howto or how-to, whichever you tend to write it.

It is true that (almost) all shipments are accompanied by documents. Commercial invoices, packing list, conformity certificates, certificate of origin, consular invoices etc are some of the documents that are used widely.

However, experience has shown that many of these documents are not always drawn up  in the way they should be. True, they contain information. It is, therefore, taken for granted that the story ends there.

An Objective View

The simple principle is that a shipment needs to be accompanied by documents. However, they should help both the export and the import procedures to run as smooth as possible. Between the shipper and the consignee, we have three entities :

  1. Freight forwarder: exporting cargo agent
  2. Airline
  3. Freight forwarder: cargo agent and/or broker

Air freight, being a fast mode, is  expensive. Saving time is of utmost importance. Export and import clearance are to move smoothly without any hitch. The documents are important for all the three parties mentioned above.

documents used in international trade

All goods that are being exported have to go through several stages. Time is the factor that is common to all of them. Documents used in international trade consume their own amount of time. It goes without saying that care should be taken in creating these papers. The processing time is to be kept as low as possible. Not all documents used in international trade have identical formats. Readability and visually helpful layout are important. Official documents ( issued by government offices) should not have corrections on them and if they do have some amendments, rules must be followed, such as a correction approved stamp or the necessary stamp required by the issuing authority.

As a manufacturer one clearly knows the product well. The aim is to sell as effectively and as fast as possible.  In a fast moving world one has to be not only necessarily but also effectively fast . However, in this fast lane, keep documentation simple and concise but without breaking any rules. Provide as much relevant information as possible without cluttering the pages.

The customs officer looks for information, which will help him identify the product. The faster he can identify, the faster his processing. If the document only shows abbreviations and code numbers, he will need more time to decide and clearance will take a longer time.

In a typical exports control procedure, the customs officer wants to know what is being exported and to where. He will then check if the export of that product is permissible. He will also check if there is any embargo in place. Hence, the clarity of the document will help save time.

A short list

  • Identifiable name(s) of the product(s)
  • Quantity with unit
  • Weight with unit
  • Type of packaging: carton, pallet, crate etc.
  • Dimensions with unit: Length x Width x Height  cm/in/mm
  • Total number of pieces
  • Total gross weight of the consignment

Below the same list is repeated in a different way.

Not all documents can be covered here. However, the most important points are highlighted below

Commercial Invoice and Packing List

These two documents should, ideally, carry the following information

  1. Title (Commercial invoice/Pro-Forma Invoice/Packing List)
  2. Date
  3. Name and address of the shipper and the consignee
  4. Description of goods (not codings or abbreviations)
  5. Serial numbers of the products (if applicable)
  6. Currency
  7. Packaging information: number of pieces, type of packaging (cartons, pallets etc), dimensions and units (cm, in)

Item 4 is a must if the product is to be temporarily imported. When the product is re-exported after the set time, the customs authorities will demand the identification based on serial numbers.  The customs documents will carry the original serial number.

Caution : Exporting items that will return to the country of export:

Keep in mind these important aspects

There is a time limit for importing under “returning after temporary import”, a process which is used to import goods, without duties being applicable. Ask the relevant customs office!

To avails of exemption of duties applicable to reimporting of goods, it must be be borne in mind that the such goods may not have undergone any physical change. In other words, the import of goods must comply with the principle of “unprocessed goods”. Example: A machine exported may be used for demonstration purposes abroad. However no changes are to be made to the machine. That includes changing any parts, “updating” it with new parts etc. 

In addition to the above, before exporting, make documentary evidence of the goods. This is achieved by  serial numbers  embossed on the item. The number is then mentioned on the accompanying documents such as packing list, commercial/pro-forma invoice etc. 

The import after the demonstration abroad must be done within the relevant period set by customs.

Certificate of Origin

This is issued by an authorised office and most customs offices will demand the original during import processing. Hence, do not delay! You may send the document to the consignee in advance. Do not use standard postal service! Instead use a courier service. Always keep a clear digital copy on hand. A digital copy should be sent to the consignee by mail.

ATA Carnet

Some offices attach a seal to the Carnet! Do NOT damage this! No pages are to be removed.

ATA Carnet is to be kept safely. It will accompany the shipment until the return to the station of origin, where the document will be officially cancelled.

A very clear copy is to be sent to the consignee(or his cargo agent) to help prepare the customs bill of entry.

Veterinary Certificate

If you are exporting dairy products, meat etc, get in touch with the corresponding government authority or the chamber of commerce. Prepare all the necessary documents without any mistakes.

Make clear digital copies of the certificate and send it to the forwarder (cargo agent) at the airport of destination. He may need to consult with the local veterinary officer to know if anything more is needed or if the certificate is OK. Move the goods ONLY AFTER the approval has been received.

The consignee will also need, in most cases, a permit from a government office to import such goods. Not all airports will have a serving veterinary officer. Hence, confirmation regarding the airport of arrival must be obtained prior to export.

Think ahead. Successful tendering to the airline is not the end of the story. When the consignment arrives at the airport of destination, the customs need to release the goods. This can happen only after clearance. What happens if the customs offices declares your documents as insufficient or inadequate or incomplete? What happens, if the customs officer demands further documents?

Special Note: Explained again in a different paragraph here.

Items made out of wood will almost always require the scientific names of the trees from which the item has been manufactured. Provide the consignee with the official scientific name.

Items of animal origin (feather, hide etc) must be described with the corresponding scientific names.  If the item is a leather product, check for requirement of CITES certificates.  What is CITES? 

Demurrage

In such a case the consignment will remain under the custody of the customs office and after the expiry of the free time (between 24 hours and 72 hours calculated from the landing time) storage charges will start.

The usual demurrage is a rate per kg per day (A minimum price will apply). The rate is applicable on chargeable weight and if your shipment is a large one, the price for storage (demurrage) will be high.

Checking In Advance

Prevention is better than cure. The principle applies even to air freight! Documents in international trade need to be checked in advance.  This will help you to minimise the risks. This procedure will help you to keep a control on costs, to avoid unnecessary stress, to prevent wastage of time.

This should be an inseparable part of your quality control. Your customer needs to receive his order on time. You need to receive your payment on time.You also need to make sure that the customer is kept happy. Service goes beyond the airport.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Have you requested and received a list of documents your customer needs?
  • Have you passed on to your customer copies of the documents for his perusal and confirmation?
  • Have you received from your customer the go ahead regarding the documents?
  • Have you passed on very clear digital copies of the documents to the freight forwarder, at your end?
  • Can the freight forwarder (cargo agent) or broker at the airport of destination use, without any hitch, the documents to file the customs bill of entry? Remember: A commercial invoice, or for that matter, a packing list, which contains only abbreviations and codings is of no use to the broker. He needs to enter the nature and description of the goods into the bill of entry that he will sent to the customs office.
  • Does the consignee need an import licence?
  • If he needs one, has he applied for it? It is not to your advantage to say that the sales terms are EXW (ex works) and that it the importers job to think about that.  The more information you can give and the more help you can provide, the more satisfied will your client be.
  • Have you provided the shipment details, such as dimensions (with units please), weight etc. in your documents? The broker might be required to enter the nett weight (weight of the goods without the packaging) to the customs. If you say “one piece”, you are making it difficult for the broker to “guess”. A single carton might weight only one kilo, but a pallet might weigh 25 kilos.
  • Does the country of destination accept “pro-forma” invoice? Many do not!!
  • Have you entered the text “For custom purposes only” on your invoice? If you have, did you think that the country of destination might disqualify such a document? The same applies to ” No commercial value”.
  • In the case of a temporary import: have you entered the serial number of your product(s) on the commercial document or any other document, which will be used for re-export?
  • Have you placed your signature (in blue ink!!) on the commercial invoice AND the packing list? Some countries make it mandatory.
  • Have you spelt the consignee (and the address) correctly? (Some countries will give you sleepless nights, if there are “spelling mistakes” in the consignee’s name and address (speaking from experience)

There are more questions, but I do not wish to worry you. I am just speaking from experience and it is my wish that you export your goods with as less problems as possible. If you have a lot of exports and less time on your hands, let a professional manage it for you. After all Rome was not built in a day.

Documents in international trade are no cryptic puzzles. All that you need is good organisation and a good planing. Arm yourself with knowledge. Countries keep changing laws and that affects trade, as well. You know it, knowledge is power.

Special Papers – Extra Attention

Certain documents in international trade demand extra attention. This is not to frighten you. You just need to take care not to lose, damage or misplace certain very special papers. I shall name some of them here:

  • Certificate of Origin Form
  • EUR 1
  • ATR  (Turkey)
  • ATA Carnet
  • CITES Certificate
  • Veterinary Certificate
  • Documents relating to dairy and meat products

Wood And Animal Products

Does your export include products made of wood (that includes decoration articles) or of animal origin (bird feather)?

If it does, then remember to note the scientific name of the plant/tree or animal/bird on your documents. Most of the customs offices will demand the declaration in the binomial nomenclature format.

Before I close this article, I need to address a serious point.

May the Receiver of the Goods See the Commercial Invoice?

The shipper must answer this question. Who is paying for the goods? Who is receiving the goods? The party that is paying for the goods might be selling to the receiver with a profit margin. Hence, the receiving party may not see the commercial invoice.

documents used in international trade

Neutralisation

In many such cases, the goods are neutralised. This means that the consignment will be stripped of any paper or label that will show the original shipper. The shipment is delivered as an anonymous one. the receiving party knows only the company that sold the goods to him.

In such a case, do not pass on the commercial invoice to the freight forwarder. The forwarder at the airport of destination will be given a commercial invoice for the customs clearance.

Export Declaration

This is a document that is needed only up to the airport of exit. It is issued by the local customs authority of the shipper. In some cases, the goods are not in the custody of the shipper. It may be located in the warehouse run by another company.

In the latter case, the export declaration is issued by the local customs office of the location of goods. For example, the shipper is located in Paris but the goods are physically stored in Frankfurt, Germany. The local customs office, under whose jurisdiction, the warehouse is, needs to issue the declaration.

The local forwarder will know when the document is required. In Germany, when the commercial invoice(s) carries a value of 1000EUR or more, an export declaration is mandatory. The document carries an 18 digit (character) code called MRN (Movement Reference Number). The last digit is called a check digit.

The German export declaration (called ABD, the abbreviation for Ausfuhrbegleitdocument. It means “Document accompanying the goods for export) is valid for 90 days from the date of issue.

Conclusion

Draw up a check list of the documents required. Ask yourself the questions mentioned in the section above. Plan without loopholes. Keep your lines of communication open. Documents used in international trade have no short cuts.  You may get in touch with me here.

Flying Heavy Engineering Goods: A Practical Approach

Introduction To Flying Heavy Engineering Goods

Flying heavy engineering goods by air  is not an impossible task. However, the shipper will be at an advantage, if  all necessary preparations have been made in advance, especially those abroad. Local preparations are to be done together with the freight forwarder.

Keep It Simple

Air freight is fast, effective and expensive. Optimising the planning to save time and avoiding confusion should be the core of the whole process. Set priorities, draw up lists, and set up a team. Flying heavy engineering goods will be a smooth process if a few points are kept within view.

Timing

Here is an article for you you. http://www.aircargonews.net/news/airlines/single-view/news/special-report-fast-thinking-will-get-air-cargo-aid-to-where-its-needed.html

Timing is the key to sending heavy engineering goods by air successfully and without any stress.  Below is an infographic, that will give a small list of some of the most important points. The list is not complete but a help to draw up your own detailed list.

flying heavy engineering goods
Flying Heavy Engineering Goods – Supath Business Services International

Co-ordination

Assign an employee to co-ordinate the whole project. It would be ideal to make another member of the staff available as a back up. Communications lines are to be kept open. Keep all the documents in one file and that includes all the details of the contact persons. Flying heavy engineering goods will require  the best of co-ordination and smoothness in operations.

Freight – Points To be Noted Always: General Information

  • If shipment is 10 tonnes or more, do NOT package it without having a consultation with  the airline.
  • If wood is used in packaging , please  read the packing article.
  • If a crane is needed, have hooks been provided on the shipment? Protection sleeves for chains or cables? or soft but strong abrasion resistent padding to avoid damage to the machine surface while handling.
  • Pressure chambers in the machine (if any) removed? (pressure chambers may be classified as dangerous goods).
  • Pick up: Is a gantry crane available at the facility? Is an external crane service needed? Any special requirements? (Metal rods or solid shafts)
  • Dimensions : Length x Width x Height with unit of measure. Keep the details accurate.
  • Weight: total gross weight of the goods “ready for carriage”. It is good to make the nett weight of the freight available to the airline.
  • Tie-down points are to be made available to the airline. Tie-down points : slots/rings/hooks to secure the freight to the air freight pallet.
  • Pre-export Check
  • Last but not the least, There should be a possibility for a wooden floor to carry the machine. Metal on metal (air freight pallets are metal) transport is not permitted

Airline staff usually inspect the machine before tabling a quotation. Once the airline contract is in place, a loadmaster will inspect the goods and advise, if anything special needs to be done. It is important that, by this time,  the consignee is ready for the import (documents are in place, broker is informed, equipment ordered etc.). The airline that will fly the heavy engineering goods needs to plan the transport through one or more channels. Airport of despatch and airport of departure and airport of destination.

Airport of despatch means, it is not the airport from where the consignment will fly. The shipment needs to be transported to another point, from where it will finally fly. Heavy engineerings goods need detailed planning: warehouse, positioning in the aircraft and moving it in the right order when the loading process begins

Documents are to be passed on in advance (always better to send them in PDF format). The consignee needs all papers in advance, so that he can pass them on to the broker who will be responsible for the customs clearance. The consignee is usually located in a different time zone and he cannot wait for you to be in office.

Demurrage

Remember: Consignment sitting in a customs warehouse means cost! A large shipment will cause an enormous amount of charges which will need to be paid immediately.

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. 

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Air Cargo e-IFM and e-CCM Philippines

air cargoCourtesy: steeleman204

Air Cargo eManifest Mandatory

Attention all Air Cargo Freight Forwarders.. If you are flying consolidated freight into Philippines, you are required to file two documents in advance:
Mandatory with effect from 11. May 2015. The rule comes into force vide Customs Memorandum Order 10-2015 issued by John Phillip P. Sevilla, Customs Commissioner

  1. e-IFM (electronic Inward Foreign Manifest)
  2. e-CCM (electronic Consolidation Cargo Manifest)

The rule has been brought into force by The Bureau of Customs and has been passed to take effect from the 11. May 2015 and any freight that arrives unmanifested will be subject to forfeiture under Section 2530 (F) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines

Content And Applicability

The e-IFM should contain the list of the House Air Waybills (HAWB) and Master Airway Bills  of the air cargo arriving on a flight. All the data of the air cargo covered by the Master Airway Bills (MAWB) will be contained in the e-CCM

Every MAWB covering air cargo consigned to airlines,  air cargo forwarders, air express operators and cargo deconsolidators is subject to the above mentioned rule and an e-CCM is to be filed without delay.

Deadlines

If the airport of departure is in Asia the deadline is the upon arrival of the aircraft at the airport.  For all the flights departing from abroad (non-Asian countries) the deadline is four hours before landing.

If the e-IFM has been filed on time the e-CCM may be filed one hour after the arrival of the flight. For e-IFMs that have been filed late,  the corresponding e-CCM may be submitted within 24 hours of the e-IFM registration, in order to avoid penalty.

Penalty For Late Submission

Any late submission of e-IFM will invite a mandatory penalty of 10,000PHP (approximately 211EUR or 224USD). As mentioned above, any air cargo arriving unmanifested will be subject to forfeiture under Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (applicable section 2530(G) )

Reference

Air Cargo : Organisation Is The Key

Introduction

Fast, efficient and expensive are the three terms that qualify the phrase air cargo. The last word is the first one that comes to mind, but delays in a business can cause loss of revenue and loss of business. Meticulous organisation will save time, money, energy and efforts.

Timing : A Vital Factor In Air Cargo

Take into account manufacturing delay. How much time will be required to produce the ordered goods, or how long would you have to wait for getting the goods delivered by your vendor. Consider possible delays such as holidays.

 

air cargo

 

 

Packaging

Always remember the using wood in packaging (and that involves dunnage) will mean more points to be checked. The wood should be IPPC certified, the logo has to be visible on the outside.

Cartons should be strong enough to withstand handling procedures. Contents should be packaged in such a way as to avoid wobbling. Any movement of the content means there is s risk of damage..

Packages loaded atop pallets should be within the inner area of the pallet. Overhang (cartons occupying an area bigger than the carrier pallet) is a potential risk (damage due to freight adjustments). Overhang also causes increase in volume (freight occupies more room).

If pallets are used for carrying the package, the former should have a strip of wood on which the chocks (the “feet”) of the pallet rest. This will help to distribute the weight of the consignment equally (floor load tolerance limit)

If  you think that the consignment might suffer damage , when weight is loaded on top, attach a label NO TOP LOAD or NOT STACKABLE to on the top side of the package.

Identification

Air cargo warehouses and freight forwarders handle innumerable consignments in a day. Human beings are prone to error and measures to prevent mistakes being made is a pertinent point. Shipper and consignee details are to attached, as far as possible, to the same side of the freight.

Special handling labels  such as FRAGILE, DO NOT THROW, DO NOT DROP are to be attached to more than one side.

Documents

Dangerous goods : Double check the Shipper’s Declaration for typing errors! Similarly check the packages: UN Number, technical name, quantity etc.

Have you checked with your consignee on the documents he needs for clearing the consignment through customs?

Do you have all the required documents? Have you checked the number of copies (at least 3 copies each of invoices and packing lists)

Clear electronic copies of all your documents on hand?

Air cargo being a fast mode transport, the documents are to be transferred to the consignee/freight forwarder using email or FTP.

 

Silk Road revisited: Air-rail transport in Asia picks up steam

Congratulations @AlaskaAir, a Platinum winner at the 2015 Air Cargo Excellence Award. Details: http://t.co/L1klFP9zj4 · 11 hours ago; Kudos @VirginAtlantic for winning a Gold Award at the … Subscribe to Air Cargo World …

 

Contact Details

Email addresses, telephone numbers (alternate telephone numbers), fax numbers, mobile numbers are to be collected and listed

Contact details to be mentioned on your SLI (Shipper’s Letter of Instructions).

Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarder to be advised preferable one day in advance

Time window  to be provided. Freight forwarders need  enough time to pick up the consignment (delays can occur due to various reasons)

Keep the information line open!  Communication is vital to air cargo.

Co-ordination

Inform the consignee of

the flight details

the pick up, when done

the documents handed over to the freight forwarder

Availability

Your freight forwarder may have questions that come up due to customs inspection. Be available to avoid any delay. Only you can answer the questions that are about the contents of the package.

Track and Trace

Almost all the air freight consignments can be tracked via the internet. Every major airline has a tracking possibility made available on their websites.  Ask your freight forwarder to inform you. A simple search in a search engine using the words ” <name of airline> cargo track and trace” will give you the link. Air cargo without a track and trace possibility is unthinkable in today’s freight forwarding world

Resources Centre

Please get in touch using the contact form below. However, your freight forwarder remains the most important point of contact for you

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References to Air Cargo

 

Cargo aircraft – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A cargo aircraft (also known as freight aircraft, freighter, airlifter, or cargo jet) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is designed or converted for the carriage of air cargo, …

Boeing: Boeing Freighters

Boeing airplanes perform every role in the air cargo market, offering the most … The airplane upholds its predecessor’s legendary efficiency, with nearly …

Airbus freighter aircraft, cargo aircraft | Airbus, a leading aircraft …

Airbus builds highly capable freighters to fulfill a full range of cargo lift requirements. The A330-200F is the only new-generation cargo aircraft available today …

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.

Incoterms

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)

Insurance

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

Documentation

  • 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. 

Feedback

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

Request

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.

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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.

Air Freight : Large Machinery

air freight

Introduction

Exporting a large machine (technically known as heavy engineering goods) by air freight is not an impossible task. However, the shipper (also known as consignor) will be at an advantage, if  preparations have been made in advance, especially those abroad.

Keep It Simple

Air freight is expensive  but fast and effective. Optimise the planning to save time and avoid confusion. Prioritise the tasks and draw up a list of work to be done. Below is a list of items, which is, however, not complete but helpful.

Timing

Timing is the key to almost everything, when it comes to air freight.

Coordination Abroad

Assign an employee to co-ordinate with the consignee about

  • arranging brokerage
  • If exporting to the US: Bond (continuous bond available? If not, arrange for a Single Entry Bond
  • Equipment needed for receiving goods : heavy-duty forklift needed? Is a ramp available? Opening times.
  • Contact persons: names, telephone numbers (arrange for alternative numbers), email, fax, hotline etc

Co-ordination  Local

  • Commercial invoices (at least three copies. Please add an extra copy for the freight forwarder)
  • Packing lists
  • Customs documentation (local)
  • Any special documentation required for the country importing your goods? (Certificate of Conformity, Country of Origin, Legalised Invoice). Get a confirmation from the consignee about what will be required.

Freight

  • If consignment is 10 tonnes or more, do NOT package without consulting the airline.
  • If wood is used in packaging , do have a look at the packing article.
  • If a crane is needed, have hooks been provided? protection sleeves for chains? or padding to avoid damage to the machine surface while handling.
  • Pressure chambers (if any) removed? (pressure chambers may be classified as dangerous goods).
  • Pick up: Is a gantry crane available? Is an external crane service needed?
  • Dimensions : Length x Width x Height with unit of measure.
  • Weight: total gross weight of the goods “ready for carriage”. It is good to make the nett weight of the freight available to the airline.
  • Tie-down points are to be made available to the airline. Tie-down points : slots/rings/hooks to secure the freight to the air freight pallet.
  • Pre-export Check

Airline staff would like to inspect the machine before tabling a quotation. Once the airline contract is in place, a loadmaster will inspect the goods and advise, if anything special needs to be done. It is important that, by this time,  the consignee is ready for the import (documents are in place, broker is informed, equipment ordered etc.).

Documents are to be passed on in advance (always better to send them in PDF format).

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. 

Feedback

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

Request

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Floor Load Capacity Limit – Air Freight Packaging

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Introduction

Floor Load Capacity limit is usually a factor unknown to the shipper. However, it is useful to understand this concept, so that the packaging can be optimised. Air freight packaging must be strong enough to withstand fast operational procedures. Forklifts, pallet-jack handling, moving, sliding, vibrations etc are all factors that need to be taken into account. Waterproofing of the package is an additional measure that may be added to the checklist. However, one important point, which should not be forgotten is the floor load tolerance or floor load capacity limit.  This factor is of extreme importance when pallets with chocks are used in air freight packaging.

Why Is Floor Load Capacity Limit Important

Freight forwarding by air uses unit load devices (ULD), which are mostly made of light weight aluminium. Although the metal is known for its tensile strength, it is not fully resistant to damage. As per the air freight regulations certain amount or type of damage can disqualify a ULD from being used in transport.  Missing rivets, deep dents or ripped sides etc. can disqualify a ULD.

Air freight packaging referred to here includes the carrier pallet. This may be made of hard board, wood, plastic or any other permitted material.

Understanding Air Freight Basics

Floor load capacity limit is the maximum permissible load per square meter. The standard used by Lufthansa is  2000 Kg per square meter. An amount of weight higher than this amount is assumed to damage the ULD and hence endanger the safety of the aircraft. A damaged ULD gives rise to the risk of freight moving while in flight, which in turn can set off destabilising the other freight on board.

Since the maximum permissible load per square meter has been set, we need to  calculate the area of the footprint (the area occupied by the freight). In order to make the calculation understandable, the simplest example of a pallet with chocks is used below. The chocks (feet) of the pallet apply a concentrated weight on a very small area. Calculating the footprint is, to put in other words, finding the contact area.

The contact area in square meters is then multiplied with the maximum permissible load (2000 Kg). The result is the maximum weight of the freight.

The Calculation

air freight floor load capacity

 

We shall consider a pallet with four chocks, with each chock measuring 8 cm (both length and width).

1 square meter = 100 cm x 100 cm = 10,000 square centimetre
Maximum permissible capacity for 1 sq. meter = 2000 Kg
One chock = 8 x 8 cm = 64 sq. cm
Total area of four chocks = 4 x (8 x 8) = 256 sq. cm
(Maximum permissible weight / 10,000 sq.  cm) x 256 sq. cm = ?
(2000 x 10,000) x 256 = 51.2

In this case the total weight of the package (pallet plus the piece of freight) on it  should not be  more than 51.2 kg. Any load on the top of the freight will mean crossing the load tolerance limit.

You, as a shipper, are not required to know the calculation. The article is to help you plan your air freight packaging with the freight forwarder and airlines in mind.

Air Freight Planning

  • Try to avoid pallets with chocks, especially conical chocks. The amount of weight per contact area of a conical chock is greater than that of a chock that is flat.
  • Use pallets with chocks resting on strips making the full length or width of the pallet. This will help distribute the weight over a large area
  • Even distribution of weight within the crate/carton with dunnage preventing the movement of the content.
  • Wobbly content shifts weight and creates possibility for  damage to content
  • Avoid overhangs! Freight should occupy only the area of the pallet and not project out of the rims.
  • If wooden pallets are to be used, make sure they are IPPC standard and the logo should be visible from the outside (embossed  on the side)
  • Air freight packaging must be strong enough and air worthy. Waterproofing is not mandatory but is certainly recommended.

Resources Centre

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

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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.

Unitised Cargo – 9: PLW Pallet With Extension

supath seo unitised cargo

Introduction To Unitised Cargo

Managing space, in an aircraft in the most optimised way is the central idea behind unitised cargo . Freight is  loaded into units (technical term: BUP = Built Up Units) that are loaded into particular positions in the plane. Every bit of available space is used in a mathematically precise way so that the maximum amount of permissible payload can be reached.

Consignors (also called shippers) are generally not  aware of the internal details of freight forwarding by air. Freight is made ready for export and once it is picked up, attention is paid only to when the consignment reaches the destination. However, a bit of knowledge of freight forwarding will help shippers plan their freight, thus helping themselves, the freight forwarders and the airlines.

Space, Volume and Optimisation

In comparison to a ship, an aircraft has very limited space and every bit of optimising is needed to fly the maximum amount of cargo but within the permissible limits. Thus packaging the freight will play a major role. Suggestions for the packaging is mentioned in a category of its own below.

Air freight price is applied to the volume taken up by the freight. Total gross weight and total volume are compared and the air freight rate is applied to whichever is the higher one. Consignments in cartons of standard sizes are helpful in planning the air cargo load. Air Freight pallets used in unitised cargo systems have an inner area for taking in the freight and an outer area with slots (and even rails) to secure the load.

PLW Pallet With Extensions

unitised cargo PLW pallet

 

 

The base construction is the same as the PLA pallet. Elevated extension wings  going outwards are the added feature that make this pallet appear different.The extension wings can carry a weight of 350 Kg .

  • IATA Certification : PLW
  • Outer Dimension : 318 cm x 153 cm
  • Usable Area : 304 cm x 139 cm
  • Extensions can carry : 350 Kg each
  • Maximum Permissible Gross Weight: 3175 Kg
  • Aircraft : Airbus: A300 category (A330, A340, A380), Boeing: B747, B777, MD: MD-11

Advice To Exporters

  • Use standard size strong cartons without any side slits (hand slots)
  • If cartons are not stackable. paste labels on the stop saying NO TOP LOAD. (Shipper’s Letter of Instruction MUST carry this information!)
  • Waterproofing is not necessary but is a good protection
  • If cartons are loaded on pallets, avoid overhang (freight should not be bigger than the carrying pallet)
  • Decisions on Unit Load Devices will be taken by freight forwarder or by the airline.

 

Courtesy: okrajoe

Why your freight needs to be packaged well!!! Not unitised cargo!

Courtesy: GLMGroupVideo

Resources Centre

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

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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.

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References: 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.

General Air Freight – Alaska Air Cargo – Alaska Airlines

General Air Freight is the lowest cost alternative for customers that do not have time-sensitive shipments and can wait for space available service.

http://www.aircargonews.net/freighters-and-belly-world-conference.html

Hosted in Budapest by Air Cargo News, the 15th Freighters and Belly Cargo World Conference provides the ideal forum for industry debate on the key themes facing the industry.

http://www.aircargonews.net/news/single-view/news/china-southern-adds-ninth-freighter-four-more-to-come.html

China Southern Cargo has taken delivery of its ninth B777-200 freighter, in time for cargo demand created by the 2015 Chinese Spring Festival.

http://www.aircargonews.net/news/single-view/news/fokker-50-converted-freighter-ready-for-take-off.html

AircraftConversions has re-delivered the first converted full Fokker50Freighter to Amapola Flyg in Sweden, with the aircraft due to enter into full cargo operations next week

Unitised Cargo – 8: PLA Half Pallet

supath seo unitised cargo

Introduction To Unitised Cargo

Limitation in space calls for optimisation of freight through thorough organisation. However, since the shape of the freight room plays a major role,  unit load devices have a category called contour ULDs.  Unitised cargo means freight organised into specially manufactured containers or pallets, which may be with or without contours and are made  for main deck and/or lower deck loading.

Unitised cargo is extensively used by freight forwarders to consolidate freight. A large amount of freight destined for a single destination can be flown as one consolidation under one master air way bill. To keep all the consignments together, they can be loaded into a container or a pallet. When it comes to very heavy freight not too big in width a PLA half pallet can be used.

The Pallet Category

The PLA  is a heavy-duty half pallet, which can be loaded into both the decks. It is manufactured to withstand heavy loads and goes by the commonly used name of PLA or 60.4 inch pallet.Main deck contour loading is possible with this ULD. As is the case with PMC pallets, PLAs are also covered by a net after the loading is complete. Being a pallet, this ULD has no surrounding walls and the freight is secured to the tide-down-slots on the floor. The tie-down-slots are provided along the perimeter of the pallet, so that the net that goes over the freight load can be easily secured.Special PLWs with extra strong floor systems are available. Such PLAs are used for carrying heavy freight.

PLA 60.4 Inch Half Pallet

  • IATA Certification : PLA
  • FAA Certification : TSO-C90
  • Outer Dimension : 318 cm x 153 cm
  • Usable Area : 304 cm x 139 cm
  • Maximum Permissible Gross Weight: 3175 Kg
  • Aircraft : Airbus: A300 category (A330, A340, A380), Boeing: B747, B767, B777, MD: MD-11

 

 

supath seo unitised cargo air_cargo

747 lower deck. Courtesy: WIKI

Advice To Exporters

  • Strong and sturdy packaging is a must. Freight will be stacked, so your freight must be able to withstand the load
  • A waterproof lining is always a good idea.
  • Air freight regulations are strict. All openings or slits in the packaging is to be sealed. Else your freight will be classified as “vulnerable to manipulation”. That might mean extra charges for you.
  • Avoid overhangs on pallets. Limit the freight to the size of the pallet.
  • Freight forwarder or the airline will decide the device to be used.
  • Since freight loaded on unit load devices will be stacked, you should inform the freight forwarder in your SLI (Shipper’s Letter of Instructions) if your freight may not be stacked!
  • Freight handling is fast. To avoid your non-stackable freight from being stacked, you should use a “DO NOT STACK”  triangular prop on the top of your freight.

Resources Centre

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

Request

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.

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References for Air Cargo and Unit Load Devices

 

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 – IATA

Air cargo transports goods worth in excess of $6.4 trillion on an annual basis. This is approximately 35% of world trade by value. The sector itself generates …

 

 

 

Unitised Cargo – 7: PMC 10 Ft Pallet

supath seo unitised cargo

Introduction To Unitised Cargo

Unitised Cargo not only optimises planning of freight space on aircraft but also organises the distribution of freight in the cabin, so that the maximum amount of freight can be loaded into the plane, but within the weight limits.  Air freight, today, is unthinkable without unit load devices and all airlines make use of this light weight equipment to organise and transport freight.

Two Categories

Unit Load Devices (ULD) come in two major categories:

  • Containers (also known as cans or pods)
  • Pallets

Containers, with or without contours, are, as the name suggests, closed devices with or without doors. The entrance is closed or secured by lockable doors, when used for valuable freight. When used for loading standard general cargo usually synthetic textile screens are used.

Pallets, on the other hand are flat devices with tie-down slots along the outer edges. Just as the containers, pallets are made from Aluminium and the inner area accommodates the freight while the outer edges serve to secure the freight. Slots are provided for the hooks to slide in and protect the load.

PMC 10 Ft Pallet ( 96 Inches Pallet)

PMCs are one of the most common, if not the most common, ULD used in unitised cargo loading, It is a very simple flat device with a narrow tie-down-slot array along the outer edges for attaching the straps or nets that secure the freight. Unlike the containers, where palletised freight might prove to have a disadvantage, PMC can be used for palletised freight, as there are no walls.

  • IATA Certification : PMC
  • FAA Certification : TSO-C90
  • Outer Dimension : 318 cm x 244 cm
  • Usable Area : 304 cm x 230 cm
  • Maximum Permissible Gross Weight: 6804 Kg
  • Aircraft : Airbus: A300 category (A330, A340, A380), Boeing: B747, B767, B777, MD: MD-11, DC : DC8 and DC10

 

supath seo unitised cargo air_cargo

Courtesy: WIKI

Advice To Exporters

  • Please use strong packaging.
  • Waterproofing is not necessary, as a waterproof plastic sheet is spread on the pallet before loading. However extra protection is never a mistake
  • If your consignments consist of several pieces, organise them on pallets with flat base strips. This will help the even distribution of weight. Pallets with chock (= feet) have a disadvantage. The weight of the freight is concentrated on a very small area, which can lead to violating the floor load tolerance levels (the amount of weight concentrated on a small area of the pallet.)
  • Packages must be secure (air freight security regulations). No slits, openings or cracks  are permitted (freight runs the risk of manipulation)
  • Avoid overhangs on pallets. The freight should occupy only the inner area of the packaging pallet used.
  • Freight forwarder or the airline will decide the device to be used.

Resources Centre

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

Request

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.

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