Disruptions happen. Port closures occur, congestion leads to delays, and products can reach their final destination slower than originally desired. So how can companies build resilience into their supply chains to minimise the risks associated with shipping goods all over the world? The answer may lie in air cargo.
What are the six ways air cargo builds resilience?
- Air cargo is fast
- Air cargo is reliable
- Air cargo is visible
- Air cargo is protected
- Air cargo is flexible
- Air cargo can allows for the shipping of oversized and less than a container load.
Due to the nature of shipping goods via air, delivery is typically extremely fast, able to bring goods from production floor or warehouse, onto the flight, and landing in the country of final destination in mere hours. As airports are typically in strategically important locations, goods sent via air freight are able to be picked up and continue their journey in-land with relative ease.
Not only is air cargo a speedy transportation mode, but by choosing to ship goods via flight, delays like port closures or congestion can be avoided altogether. Additionally, the departure and arrival times of air transportation is exceptionally reliable since air traffic is tightly controlled.
As businesses may choose air freight to transport their most high-value or fragile goods via air, it is understandable that security and visibility would be high priorities. While advancements in digitalisation are allowing visibility services to vastly improve, no transport mode provides quite the same level of visibility as air.
Air cargo transport, when on route, is impossible to tamper with, meaning that the goods on board are protected from theft or vandalism. Also, the speed of air freight means that damages are more easily avoided than via other modes of transportation. Additionally, goods transported via air typically go through less handling than other transport modes, meaning that there is a more seamless movement of goods as well as greater visibility in every step of its journey.
The speed of air cargo is especially helpful for companies that need extra time to finalise their cargo. When shipping via other modes, goods must be packaged and ready for transportation well before they depart. However, when shipping via air cargo, some providers allow businesses to add to their shipments, and make changes at very last minute.
This agility allows shippers to respond to unforeseen circumstances in real-time, increasing the resiliency of their supply chains. For example, if a business sees that a shipment will be sent to one of their warehouses or retail locations that has sold less stock than originally forecasted, they can decide to pivot, and send their goods to a different location. This level of flexibility would be impossible on transportation modes like ocean shipping or rail, as goods on the move for longer periods of time and cannot easily be removed and reoriented in the same way.
Air freight is able to accommodate shipments of all shapes and sizes, from less than container load as well as containerized, and even oversized, cargo. The flexibility to ship less than container load is especially advantageous for small and medium sized companies, that do not yet have capacities that require a full container load. By allowing for smaller quantities of goods, air cargo can allow such businesses the opportunity of global reach, without having to invest in greater amounts of goods that may not sell at final destination.
Some logistics companies allow businesses the opportunity to charter an entire flight; putting the control in the hands of the shipper. This option is particularly well-suited to shippers that need to send oversized cargo, dangerous goods, or extremely time-sensitive cargo with ease.
Air cargo makes your supply chain more resilient
By utilising air transportation companies supply chains can be more resilient, able to overcome challenges with ease. With the powerful combination of speed, flexibility, and visibility; air cargo has proven to be resilient and reliable in crisis contexts. The International Air Transport Association can attest, "the desire to move goods is strong, and air cargo is resilient in a crisis. Our businesses were challenged and tested during the pandemic, and we emerged stronger."