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Air Freight Shipping Strategies for Shipping Cost and Efficiency!

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 20, 2024

7 min read

Air freight doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive for businesses. It can be a trusted ally to create a leaner and more responsive supply chain. In today’s fast-paced world, it has become a necessity for businesses to master air freight shipping strategies. This is essential for companies wanting to bring sustainability and efficiency to their logistics operations to beat the cut-throat competition. 

Global general air cargo spot rates fell by 12% month over month in January 2024 to an average of USD 2.27 per kg. This was following the trend of the global dynamic load factor, which fell three percentage points to 56% from December to January.

Companies are supposed to navigate the ever-fluctuating landscape of air freight costs. This requirement has further fueled the need for smarter and more sustainable shipping solutions. The air cargo industry is hopeful that the market will improve in the upcoming year, with the exception that both air cargo volumes and rates will increase in 2024.

Strategies like leveraging cutting-edge data analytics and embracing eco-friendly practices can help you optimise air freight logistics, ensuring your cargo movement smoothly across the skies. 

In this article, we’ll look at different air freight shipping strategies that will help businesses make their operations more cost-efficient and effective.

Air Freight Shipping Strategies

Air Freight Shipping Strategies to Achieve Better Outcomes for Businesses

There are many ways to get better results for your air freight shipping efforts. Below are some of the most amazing air freight shipping strategies for you to scroll through: 

1. Consolidation of Shipments

Let’s begin with a very productive air freight shipping strategy that involves aggregating smaller shipments from different sellers into one larger shipment to free up space within air freight carriers. It mirrors a symbiotic relationship where each participant benefits from reduced cost because they divide and share the logistical expenses. The strategic advantage of using this approach not only lies in cost reduction but also in the potential reduction of the carbon footprint by maximising the efficiency of each flight.

2. Off-Peak Timing

Another tactical approach to cost mitigation is temporarily optimising or accommodating shipping schedules to coincide with off-peak periods. You can exploit the natural ebb and flow of demand within the air freight market with this method. Strategically planning shipments during the off-season gives you the power to negotiate lower air freight rates. However, you’ll have to have a nuanced understanding of the market dynamics and a willingness to take advantage of temporal flexibility to gain this cost efficiency.

3. Strategic Carrier Alliances

This air freight shipping strategy focuses on building long-term relationships with carriers. This depends on the concept of mutualism, where both entities get reciprocal benefits from each other. Such partnerships can result in negotiated rates and improved service levels through a shared understanding and alignment of business objectives. You may also get special treatment and have a competitive advantage in the shipping and logistics industry by building strong relationships through ongoing interactions. It’s almost similar to how making more connections in a network gives you an edge. 

4. Technological Leverage

You can upgrade your technology and apply these advanced technological systems within the logistical framework to automate the processes and simplify the working of complex systems. Sophisticated software helps improve route planning, automate tracking, and streamline your operational logistics. The technology integration acts as a force multiplier in logistics management since it can improve precision and adaptability in real-time decision-making processes.

5. Packaging Optimisation

Making your packaging efficient and more conducive aligns with the principles of lean manufacturing that enable waste reduction and process efficiency. Optimising the packaging of your products not only minimises the cost of material used but also impacts the volumetric weight of shipments. This is an important element in air freight costing. You require a rigorous analysis of packaging design to balance the protection of goods with material minimization. This reduces both economic and environmental costs associated with transportation.

6. Data-Driven Logistics

Adopting a data-centric approach to air freight shipping strategy reflects the broader trend toward big data analytics in business decision-making. Systematically analysing the shipping data allows you to conveniently uncover inefficiencies, predict trends, and draw a better strategic business plan. This method uses the approach of observing relevant data to refine your logistical processes and continuously improvise using the metrics or previous performance.

7. Sustainable Practices

Integrating sustainable practices in your air freight shipping process will help you adhere to your environmental responsibility and maintain economic viability. You can reduce both the ecological impact and transportation costs by opting for lighter and recycled materials for packing and shipping your products. The consumer demand for environmentally conscious business practices is growing by the day. So, using eco-friendly logistics not only helps you fulfill your corporate social responsibility but also makes your company or brand stand out. It also makes you more preferable in the eyes of such environmentally-conscious customers.

CargoX: Your One-Stop Solution for Cost-Effective and Efficient Shipping

Shiprocket’s CargoX is a trustworthy and affordable international logistics service for transporting your large shipments across borders. They help you ship to over 100 overseas destinations and ensure timely B2B deliveries. Some of the notable features of CargoX’s service are:

  • Instant Quote
  • Pick-up within 24 hours 
  • Digitalised procedures
  • Total visibility of shipments
  • Lucid invoices
  • Simple record keeping
  • No unstated fees
  • No limitations on weight
  • Vast network of couriers
  • Superior conflict resolution


Air freight shipping strategies massively help improve the air freight shipping process, which is frequently subject to money and environmental issues. You can save costs and build a strong shipping network with carefully crafted air freight shipping strategies. Besides those practices, you can use the latest technology to make air freight shipping more efficient and accurate. Subsequently, you can also use minimal packaging to cause less harm to the environment and tick off your corporate social responsibility goals. There’s no doubt that using a sustainable approach will also increase the likeability of your brand among environmentally conscious customers. Also, bringing in data-driven logistics can help your business stay flexible and adapt quickly to changes happening in the shipping industry. Altogether, these approaches can help a business reduce shipping costs and attain efficiency in logistics.

Can air freight be eco-friendly and economical at the same time?

Definitely! It’s all about choosing the right materials and methods to make that big difference. The sustainable materials are usually pocket and environment-friendly, which can serve you both the advantages of low costs and ecosystem preservation. There are so many new materials popping up in the market that help benefit the environment and your profit margin. For instance, paperboard or cardboard packaging gives your products the required cushion and the eco-friendly touch.

What is the most difficult part of optimising air freight shipping?

The most challenging task in optimising air freight is to find a balance between speed, cost, and reliability collectively. This is a very delicate balance to strike, and businesses may find it challenging to do the same. However, if you apply appropriate air freight shipping strategies, this may soon become easy for you. 

Do these air freight shipping strategies suit smaller businesses?

Most of the air freight strategies are suitable and viable for small or medium-sized businesses. Smaller businesses may find these strategies particularly powerful, as they can adapt and implement changes more swiftly across the company. This is because small or medium-sized businesses will incur fewer costs and spend less time and energy compared to bigger firms in implementing new strategies companywide.

What’s the catch with off-peak air freight shipping strategy?

Timing is everything when applying the off-peak strategy in air freight shipping. Off-peak can be your best bet if you can afford a little flexibility in your schedule. Simply try to weigh the cost benefits against your timing needs when using this strategy.

How does technology factor into air freight shipping?

Technology is undoubtedly a game-changer in air freight shipping. If you apply advanced technology and use just the right one, you can track, tweak, and transform your shipping process into a sleek and cost-saving machine.

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