In general, when looking at the various types of cargo transported by air, they fall into two main groups General Cargo and Special Cargo. General cargo are items that do not fall into the Special Cargo categories and that do not require any extra precautions or special handling during air transport. These types of items are retail, most of the average, everyday objects would fall into the general cargo area and most consumer goods (with the exception of mobile phones, tablets and laptops), dry goods, hardware, textiles, and more.
Special cargo is where things get a little more complicated. Special cargo are goods that, due to their nature, weight, dimensions and/or value, may have specific requirements including packaging, labelling, documentation and handling through the transport chain. The transport of these goods is addressed through specific regulations that must be followed when preparing, offering, accepting and handling this cargo. Items include dangerous goods, live animals, perishable cargo, wet cargo, time and temperature sensitive products among others.
While some dangerous goods are too dangerous for transport by air except under very detailed allowance by the civil aviation authority, many can only be transported on cargo-only aircraft, and others can be transported on both cargo and passenger aircraft. No matter which type of aircraft the dangerous goods are shipped on, there are always specific requirements that must be followed.
There are still many other materials that may only be carried under very particular circumstances. These are considered “Dangerous Goods Forbidden Unless Exempted.” Other everyday items may not seem outwardly dangerous but need to be checked for hazardous components, such as battery-powered devices, breathing apparatus, and dental apparatus. This is why it is important that passenger check-in, cargo reservation, sales, and passenger reservation staff all be provided with appropriate information so that they are well-informed and well-trained on what are dangerous goods.
While several classes are separated into sub-divisions due to the wide scope of the hazards within the class, dangerous goods are grouped into nine classes:
- Class 1-Explosives
- Class 2-Gasses
- Class 3-Flammable Liquids
- Class 4-Flammable Solids; Substance Liable to Spontaneous Combustion; Substances which, in Contact with Water, Emit Flammable Gases
- Class 5-Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides
- Class 6-Toxic and Infectious Substances
- Class 7-Radioactive Material
- Class 8-Corrosives
- Class 9-Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances and Articles, Including Environmentally Hazardous Substances
Some commodities, such as pharmaceuticals, blood supplies, organs, or other life sciences products require specific controls on the temperature to which they are exposed during transport. When shipping temperature-controlled goods it is crucial that all documentation is filled out completely and legibly. Using the shipper’s and consignee’s full information and phone numbers is suggested. If the shipment is accompanied by any certificates or health documentation, then those should be documented in the “Handling Information” box of the Air Waybill.
You should fill out the “Nature and Quantity of Goods” portion of the Air Waybill and make note if dry ice is being used as a refrigerant as it is considered a dangerous good. Before a carrier can accept time and temperature-controlled goods from a shipper there are many details regarding the shipment that must be laid out in advance. Some of these details include:
- Contents of the time and temperature goods
- Type of packaging
- Flight schedule and routing
- Aircraft type
- Environmental conditions
- Availability of temperature control during all phases
- The anticipated span of the journey
- 24hr emergency contact number
- Country specific regulations
With fresh fruits and vegetables becoming more and more popular year-round, transportation of perishable goods is in high demand. Shorter travel time and controlled temperature make transporting perishable goods by air the preferred means of shipping. When shipping perishable goods by air, specific steps and regulations apply to the process of shipping by air. There are numerous documents needed for shipping perishable goods. The process begins with ensuring that the Air Waybill is filled out completely and accurately and without unreasonable requests for handling the perishables. Other documentation may be required, such as some countries may need the permit numbers included on the cargo manifest.
There is a wide array of perishable goods, and they are each subject to deterioration, some faster than others. Appropriate packaging and handling are crucial to the perishable goods being delivered in good condition. The packaging must facilitate both the integrity of the goods as well as the handling and storage of the goods. The packaging must meet food safety regulations and meet food-grade standards while still being durable enough to withstand temperature changes and stacking.
When dealing with the shipping of live animals, proper marking and labeling is crucial and is always required. Labels should be printed and adhered to the outside of the animal container. English must always be used in addition to the original language used by the shipper. Each container should be marked clearly and legibly with the full name, address, current contact number of the shipper, consignee, and a 24-hour contact if they are not one of the previously mentioned people. It should also list the animal’s common and scientific names and list the number of animals within the container. For some common animals, the scientific name is unnecessary, and within these shipping live animals’ regulations, it states that, with the exception of service dogs, all live animals must be placed in a container specified in the regulations. Other information that should be included is whether an animal is poisonous or if it bites. Any feeding or care instructions should be visibly posted as well.
It is very important to understand a particular animal’s basic behavior under stress because it will affect how they react during shipping. Their reactions can cause problems or even harm to the animal or handler. There are guidelines for handling animals in heat, nursing, and young traveling with other young. It is crucial for the animals and the handlers that these guidelines be followed for the safety and well-being of all. The animals should be disturbed as little as possible, with few people handling them and then only when properly trained.
When shipping live animals, the shippers are responsible for ensuring all animals are healthy and in good condition. The carriers have a responsibility to make sure that the shippers have complied with all of the regulations. Personnel should take precautions to ensure no other cargo could fall onto the live animal containers while being transported. Live animals should not be stored next to certain dangerous goods or food items unless hermetically sealed. Upon unloading live animals, the cargo area must be adequately cleaned and disinfected by personnel wearing appropriate gloves and boots. There are precise guidelines given regarding the disinfectant, which after being used, is followed with an approved deodorant, making sure to clean all removable equipment, penning and containers, and loading ramps. These guidelines must be met within each import and export country.
With Dijla you can rest assured that your General Cargo is being shipped by air while the additional services that Dijla can package with air freight shipments are the aforementioned Special Cargo. In shipping both types of cargo Dijla will assure meeting all the provisions mentioned restrictions and regulations for all kinds of special cargo and will ensure that no matter what general cargo, dangerous goods, live animals, perishable cargo, wet cargo, time and temperature sensitive products, or temperature-controlled goods you ship, they will be delivered safely and securely with special concern taken for the details of the documentation, the design of the container, marking and labeling and routing and reservation information with every shipment.
Wherever your shipment is heading, Dijla’s logistics experience delivers reliability and security for your international air cargo and with the company-wide knowledge to handle transborder deliveries, warehouse management and more. We at Dijla provide end-to-end support, including inside pickup and delivery service, dangerous, hazardous materials transport, over-sized cargo, residential delivery, white glove delivery options, merge-in-transit service, intermodal transportation, reverse logistics, consolidation, hand carry, ground shipping and distribution and much more!
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