Julie, Oleg and Tom from Momart, kindly provided advice to couriers for airfreight shipments. Their aim to provide details on what we can expect from the shipper and to make the courier feel confident in asking the right questions, so that the transit goes as smoothly as possible.
Starting with the preparation, Julie explained her role as Project Co-ordinator. This role liaises direct with the sending and receiving airline, ensuring the correct type of pallet and freight is booked.
The Projector Co-ordinator will also provide a full itinerary for the courier. This provides all information that the courier might need for their trip. It is really important for the courier to check this before their trip to ensure they understand the plans.
Tom and Oleg are airport representatives from Momart; they began by explaining the importance of setting expectations with your airport representative. Question your representative from the outset to ensure you know exactly what is going to happen to your consignment and when. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions, after all, you might not be aware of the local procedures.
For example, what type of aircraft is being used?
Is a container or a pallet being used?
Will the representative see the pallet loaded on the aircraft themselves? The answer in the UK, is ‘yes’ however this can’t be the case in other countries.
What happens to the pallet when it is packed? You want it stored in the ETV system so that it’s safely stored away until it’s time to load the aircraft.
When overseeing palletisation, note that a sheet of plastic will line the base of the pallet, crates will be placed, strapped down (listen for the ‘click’), the sides of the plastic will be bought up and another sheet covers the pallet, before netting is draped over the whole pallet. Ensure to ask your representative before hand, if you need it in flight direction and be aware if the crate can be stacked or not.
When pallets are shared, the airport representative will ensure that no dangerous or perishable goods are loaded on the same pallet.
You may have your consignment in a container, again, you need to ensure you inform the representative of any requirements in good time, and in both cases, it’s very important to make a note of the pallet or container number that your consignment(s) are on, so they can tracked.
Now that the pallet (or container) is loaded, check you are clear on the next steps with your representative. You will need to check in to your flight, but make sure you have your mobile switched on! Ensure the representative gives you the position on the plane – and do not board the aircraft (if it’s a passenger flight) until you have this information! If on a cargo flight, you should receive a phone call from your agent after you have boarded.
To end a few dos and don’ts from Julie – do have a mobile phone (ensure that the shipper has your number and that it is always switched on). If you are asked to report to Customs, make sure you do, otherwise its smuggling and don’t declare the consignment as your personal goods – it is cargo!
Enjoy your flight!
Vicky Skelding-Bloor, Exhibitions and Loans Officer, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts