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NFO, OBC, Dims, oh and DDP! How to speak like you know Ad hoc Freight.

Here’s a quick round up of common terms you’ve probably already heard thrown around while working in the logistics business. But what do they mean, how and when do we use them? Let’s start with Freight modes.

Air Charter

Involves the rental of an entire aircraft and is commonly used for time sensitive cargo or irregular shipment due to its freight flexibility in size and timings. However it comes with heavy price that you’d like to avoid at all times.

Source: Air Charter Network

The rented airplane is fully dedicated to one shipper and usage of this service often depends on availability or aircrafts and approval from governments. For example, it can take days to get flight permissions in countries like China and India.

Here’s a tip: Work as closely as possible with the airplane operator for an Air Charter shipment. For smaller aircrafts, have a broker who understands your needs and can source the optimal solution with multiple operators at the same time. Reach out to airplane operators when you require a large freighter, that way you can work with them for the best price. They might even offer you an entire package of handling!

Did you know? A specially-chartered FedEx Express plane returned 19 penguins and two sea otters to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas after Hurricane Katrina. Even giant pandas from China, tiger sharks, whales, and rhinos have been flown by Air Charter!

Source: Business WireJoin the Legion

On Board Courier

A personal companion for your shipment. The courier checks in as a passenger and your shipment as passenger belongings. Is executing an On Board Courier is as simple as finding a person, buying a ticket and maybe some minor arrangements on the ground? Pretty straight-forward job? Well, not quite. Here’s why:

How about the customs clearance?
Customs clearance is not only different across countries, but also different from the regular customs clearance procedures. Some airports prohibit a commercial shipment when it is being brought into the country by a passenger. Others only permit it at a certain time and at specific airports.

Can you move a shipment of 100 boxes with a total weight of 2000KG with an On Board Courier?
Yes, you can! And no, the shipment won’t be carried on board, but checked in as excess luggage. Not all airlines will allow such shipments, it depends on the airplane type, weight restrictions or even excess luggage restrictions.

Do all airlines accept passenger carrying commercial goods?
Yes, you can! And no, the shipment won’t be carried on board, but checked in as excess luggage. Not all airlines will allow such shipments, it depends on the airplane type, weight restrictions or even excess luggage restrictions.

Do all airlines accept passenger carrying commercial goods?
Most airlines do, but certain airlines prohibit couriers to bring goods on board that don’t belong to them. These restrictions have been put in place after 9/11.

Next-Flight-Out (NFO)

Putting a package on the next possible flight for delivery. Also known as Counter-to-counter or Flash shipment. The service can be best described as an all-the-way dedicated service, moved on an express air-freight product, where the shipment gets a dedicated delivery, pickup and customs clearance.

Consolidated separately from other shipments, packages on NFO will move on the highest priority express services available on airlines to avoid any delay.

Did you know? Airlines have improved their service offerings for express products drastically with specifically-catered services for shipments that require a special handling. Improvements in handling at airports has also resulted in a faster transit time, making the difference between an On Board Courier and NFO almost non-existent.

Regular Air-Freight

Regular air freight that usually falls under long term tenders that are being organized on a global or regional scale.

Source: World Craft Logistics

Most large companies have agreed rates with providers for regular air freight. However, when there is a one-off shipment outside the agreed lanes, timings, etc., it will have to be procured on the spot. It can also be a short term project and you want to see whether you can get a better rate than what was initially agreed upon, as rates can change quickly and drastically. Every provider will have a preferred airline and preferential rates or space allocations for this service.

Road / Hotshot

Dedicated road transport managed on an ad hoc basis, often handled by a local asset based trucking or taxi company or by a centrally organized non-asset based provider.

This freight mode is more time critical and/or has abnormal shapes. It is often used in North America and Europe for an overnight service, when there are no commercial flights or in the US for long distance.

Here's a quick round up of common terms you’ve probably already heard thrown around while working in the logistics business.