How Air Freight Ships Temperature-Controlled Goods

  • December 16, 2021
  • Blog

A wide variety of cargo is moved both domestically and internationally by air. Different types of cargo have specific requirements for safe storage, transport, and handling. With each shipment needing special consideration, how do forwarders and airlines control the temperature of these goods so that they arrive safely and undamaged?

What are Temperature-Controlled Goods?

Temperature-controlled or perishable goods refer to products that will spoil unless stored at a specific temperature or, are in a controlled environment. Examples of common perishable goods include fresh meat, frozen food, pharmaceutical drugs, and flowers.
Different perishable goods have different requirements for storage and handling, which makes things complicated for air freight transporters. For instance, fresh meat must be stored at a different temperature to pharmaceutical drugs. So, what happens when the fresh meat and the drugs are on the same international flight?

Unit Load Devices: The Solution for Transporting Perishable Goods

A unit load device (ULD) is a metal cargo container designed for transporting perishable goods via air. They lock into place aboard the aircraft to keep goods secure.
ULDs maintain a temperature range to keep perishable goods fresh. Some use electrical power, while others use dry ice. Most ULDs have a temperature range of -20 to 20 degrees Celsius.

Considering the Entire Supply Chain

While ULDs keep perishable goods safe during a flight, air freight is just one part of the supply chain. Supply chain managers must consider the safe storage and handling of perishable goods before and after the flight too. These considerations include:

  • Preparing perishable goods for air freight shipment
  • Transporting perishable goods to the airport
  • Storing perishable goods at the airport
  • Accommodating potential delays, loading and unloading of the aircraft
  • Making time and accommodations for customs clearance

Perishable Goods and Customs Clearance

If you are shipping goods via international air freight, you also must consider customs clearance. The international customs process will affect how long your goods must be in a temperature-controlled environment and how you pack them.
Many countries have strict rules about importing and exporting food items and pharmaceuticals. Find a freight forwarder that provides customs clearance services to ensure you know the rules and have the proper documentation to streamline the customs process.
Furthermore, when packing your perishable goods, ensure you can maintain the correct temperature throughout the entire shipping process. This preparation includes accommodating for the goods being opened and inspected by Customs.

Explore Your Options for Air Freight in Australia

20Cube Logistics provides innovative and cost-effective air freight forwarding services in Australia and internationally. Our third-party logistics services enable businesses to outsource their supply chain management and shipping needs to us. We handle the warehousing, distribution, shipping and customs clearance for them.
Our air freight solutions involve:

  • Multi-modal Transport Operator (MTO) services for both air-sea and sea-air combinations
  • Time-definite shipments to ensure no delays (vital for temperature-controlled goods)
  • Peak season charters for uninterrupted transportation on busy domestic and international trade corridors
  • Supervision during loading and unloading cargo
  • Customs clearance with Licenced Customs Brokers in Australia

To learn more about air freight in Australia and international freight forwarding options, set up a consultation with 20Cube.