If you’ve been following our blog for a while, this topic might seem a little nostalgic—and for good reason! We wrote about some basic air cargo facts all the way back in 2018. However, it’s no secret that the world has changed since then, so we decided it was time to give one of our favorite blogs a refresh.
Types of Air Cargo
Before we jump in, here’s a quick review. Air cargo can be broken into two main groups: general cargo and special cargo. General cargo is essentially any good that doesn’t require special handling or precautions, while special cargo needs a little more attention to detail. Live animals, temperature-sensitive items, and battery-powered devices would all be considered special cargo. Some items, like lithium-ion batteries, are considered dangerous cargo. These fall under special cargo, but shipments must abide by explicit regulations set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Now that you’re all refreshed, let’s dive into some figures.
Quick Air Cargo Figures
Air cargo continues to be one of the most impactful modes of cargo transportation. Just check out these numbers:
- There are over 41,000 airports and more than 5,000 airlines in the world.
- Goods transported by air are worth over $6 trillion every single year.
- In 2021, air freight accounted for 2 million metric tons of cargo.
- Air cargo accounts for less than 1% of trade by volume but makes up 35% of all global trade by value.
Why Choose Air Cargo?
As you know, there are benefits to each specific mode of transportation. Air cargo is often thought of as the most expensive but the fastest option. Expedited shipments can be placed on cargo planes and arrive at their destination in mere hours, versus what may take days on an ocean liner.
However, based on the items being shipped, air cargo might not always be the best solution. Some cargo simply doesn’t do well when placed in a pressurized cabin. Those items often require a specialized air carrier or a different mode of transportation.
In today’s world of congested ports and limited space in cargo holds, our team is working to ensure our customers’ goods get where they need to be on time. Reach out to your TOC Logistics representative or contact our team to learn how we can help your organization’s supply chains stay on track.