What is an Air Freight Broker?

To move goods from state to state, or country to country, a secure mode of transportation is essential.  For shippers, this means relying on a middleman to facilitate the transfer of such goods through a carrier to its destination. 

Air Freight Broker Defined

Freight being loaded onto a cargo planeIn many instances, goods must be transported via airplane rather than truck if they are to reach their destination on time.  This is where an Air Freight Broker like Grand Aire comes in.  We serve as a liaison or agent between the shipper (owner/manufacturer of the goods), and the carrier (commercial or chartered aircraft). 

In general, Air Freight Brokers use their expertise and network of carriers to secure the optimal shipping method available for their customer, at the best price.  If needed, they can even coordinate movement of goods between multiple carriers to ensure that the goods arrive at their destination according to the client’s stringent schedule.

Unlike Freight Forwarders, Air Freight Brokers never take possession or have direct contact with the cargo being shipped.  Their sole purpose is to coordinate the movement of such goods between the supplier and the transporter.

Air Freight Broker Responsibilities

First and foremost, the job of an Air Freight Broker is to find the most suitable carrier for the cargo being shipped in accordance with the customer’s timeline.  They are also entrusted with the task of ensuring that the goods being shipped are compliant with applicable laws and regulations.  This includes completing the proper documentation, known as an air waybill when transporting freight by airplane.

Vetting carriers is another essential job of Air Freight Brokers.  They need to confirm that each carrier they contact is credible, as well as reliable.  This includes examining the carrier’s track record, dependability of their staff, and confirming their adherence to licensing requirements and compliance with industry standards.

The most critical responsibility of any Air Freight Broker is tracking and managing each shipment.  This includes following the progress of the goods, from the time they leave their point of origin to the time they reach their destination.   

Cargo being loaded onto an airplane by a forkliftTransportation Options for Air Freight Brokers

When determining the optimal shipping method on behalf of the client, Air Freight Brokers must consider many factors.  What is the size and weight of the shipment?  How quickly does it need to arrive at its destination?  What is the proximity of the cargo to the departing airport?  Is the shipper recognized by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) at the departing airport?  (If not, this may limit the carrier options able to be considered.)

Based on this information, the Air Freight Broker can begin reaching out to the appropriate carriers.   

For large shipments that can accommodate longer transit times, they may be suitable for transportation via a commercial aircraft.  Known as Air Freight, these goods are carried in the belly of a regularly scheduled passenger plane run by a commercial airline like Delta, United, American Airlines, etc.  The departure and arrival day/times as well as the route are predetermined by the airline and do not fluctuate often. 

In some instances, air freight may be loaded onto an outbound commercial plane much faster if space is open and cargo is readily available at the departing airport.  This quick turnaround is considered NFO, or Next Flight Out shipping. 

Air Charter is the term given to cargo that travels on a private plane.  With this transportation option, an individual airplane is contracted and used exclusively for freight from only one shipper.  This allows the shipper more flexibility, as they determine the departure time and destination for the flight.

Package being hand delivered to recipientWhen transporting smaller, invaluable packages or important documents in a timely, secure manner, an On-Board Courier Service may be ideal.  Also referred to as Hand Carry Service, the package/documents are carried onto a commercial plane by one individual (the OBC).  Once landed, they deliver the shipment to the recipient or designated agent in person. 

With this lone chain of control, Hand Carry Service is undeniably the most secure and fastest option for delivering small, time-critical shipments.

For fast delivery of goods traveling short distances, Expedited Trucking may be a desirable option.  As the name implies, cargo is transported to its destination quickly by van, box truck or tractor-trailer.

While all Air Freight Brokers specialize in air freight services, Grand Aire is also experienced in finding and securing expedited trucking solutions, both locally and nationally.  We have Ground Expedite Specialists on staff in addition to Air Freight and Air Charter Specialists so that we can offer the most ideal transportation option to fit each shipper’s needs, whether that be by air or ground. 

Benefits of Using an Air Freight Broker

Working with an Air Freight Broker such as Grand Aire has many benefits.  Due to our relationships with multiple carriers, we are able to negotiate the best rates for our customers, thus saving them money.

Our Air Freight and Air Charter Specialists save customers time by handling all aspects of the shipping process.  This includes locating and securing available carriers, arranging transportation of the shipment, and preparing the appropriate paperwork. 

We utilize our expertise and knowledge in every trip we book.  Our goal is to exceed our customers’ expectations by providing them with the most favorable, reliable air transportation options available. 

With over 35 years in the air freight industry, Grand Aire has proved to be a leading air service provider. Let us put our experience to work for you.  Contact us at 1-800-70-GRAND or email our team at logistics@grandaire.com.