Navigating Incoterms for Air Freight

Comprehensive Guide to Incoterms for Air Freight: Navigating International Trade Terms

Dive deep into the intricacies of Incoterms specifically designed for air freight. This guide explains how these international trade terms significantly influence logistics, cost management, and risk allocation in shipping, providing businesses with the knowledge to streamline their global trade operations.

air freight incoterms

Introduction to Incoterms in Air Freight

Incoterms, short for International Commercial Terms, are a set of global rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that define important aspects of international trade transactions. Understanding Incoterms is crucial for businesses involved in international shipping as they clarify the responsibilities of sellers and buyers concerning the delivery of goods.

Historical Context and Evolution of Incoterms

Incoterms were first introduced in 1936 to unify the fragmented clauses and trade practices into a universally accepted set of rules. Since their inception, Incoterms have been periodically updated to reflect changes in the global trade environment. The latest revision, Incoterms 2020, offers guidelines that cater to modern logistics practices, technological advancements, and regulatory compliance.

Understanding the Structure of Incoterms

Incoterms are categorized into two classes based on the type of transportation involved:

  • Specific Terms for Sea and Inland Waterway Transport: Designed for goods shipped by sea or inland waterways.
  • Terms Suitable for All Transport Modes: These terms are versatile and can be used for multiple modes of transport, including air freight, rail freight, truck freight

Key Elements Defined by Incoterms

  • Point of Delivery: Where the goods are considered delivered from the seller to the buyer.
  • Risk Transition: The exact point in the journey where the risk of loss or damage to the goods shifts from the seller to the buyer.
  • Cost Allocation: Specifies which costs are borne by the seller and which by the buyer.

Exploring Incoterms Applicable to Air Freight

When dealing with air freight, selecting the appropriate Incoterm is essential for ensuring cost-effectiveness and efficient risk management.

Exploring Incoterms Applicable to Air Freight

Detailed Look at Air Freight-Suitable Incoterms:

  • EXW (Ex Works): The seller makes the goods available at their premises. This term places minimal responsibility on the seller, making it ideal for sellers preferring less involvement in logistics.
  • FCA (Free Carrier): The seller delivers the goods to a carrier at a specified location. The seller is responsible for export clearance.
  • CPT (Carriage Paid To): The seller pays for transporting the goods to an agreed destination. Risk transfers when goods are handed to the first carrier.
  • CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): Adds insurance to the CPT term. The seller covers the transport and insurance costs to a specified destination.
  • DAP (Delivered At Place): The seller delivers the goods ready for unloading at the destination, handling all transportation costs and risks until arrival.
  • DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded): The seller delivers and unloads the goods at the named place, responsible for all risks and costs until unloading.
  • DDP (Delivered Duty Paid): The seller assumes all responsibilities, including duties and taxes, until the goods are delivered to the buyer.

    Strategic Considerations for Choosing Incoterms in Air Freight

    Selecting the right Incoterms for air freight involves evaluating several strategic factors:

    • Level of Control: Assess how much control you need over the shipping process.
    • Risk Tolerance: Determine at which point in the shipment you want the risks to transfer.
    • Cost Management: Evaluate which party should handle specific costs to optimize budgeting.
    • Insurance Requirements: Decide if insurance needs to be included as part of the shipment term.
    • Customs Handling: Consider which party is better positioned to handle customs procedures based on experience and geographic location.

    Commonly Asked Questions About Air Freight Incoterms

    Do Incoterms apply to air freight?

    Absolutely! Incoterms are definitely relevant for air freight. Common terms you might encounter include CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To) and CPT (Carriage Paid To). These terms outline who’s responsible for things like freight charges, insurance, and overseeing delivery to the destination. Generally, the seller assumes most of the risk until the goods arrive at the destination airport.

    What does CPT mean in air freight?

    CPT, or Carriage Paid To, is an Incoterm where the seller pays the freight charges to bring the goods to a specified destination. Once the goods are handed over to the first carrier, the responsibility and risk shift to the buyer. It’s a popular term used in international shipping to simplify transactions, ensuring everyone knows who is responsible for what part of the air freight journey.

    Is CIF applicable to air freight?

    No, CIF, or Cost, Insurance, and Freight, isn’t used for air freight. It’s specifically designed for sea and inland waterway shipments. If you’re shipping by air and want a similar setup, go for CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To), which also covers transportation and insurance but is suited for air shipments.

    What is DAP in terms of air freight?

    DAP stands for Delivered At Place, and it’s pretty straightforward. Under DAP, the seller is responsible for delivering the goods right up to the specified destination, ready for unloading. They take on all the risks and costs until the goods are ready to be unloaded.

    Which Incoterms are suitable for both air and sea freight?

    There are several Incoterms that fit both air and sea freight, making them versatile for various shipping needs. These include:

    • EXW – Ex Works
    • FCA – Free Carrier
    • CPT – Carriage Paid To
    • CIP – Carriage and Insurance Paid To
    • DAP – Delivered at Place
    • DPU – Delivered at Place Unloaded
    • DDP – Delivered Duty Paid

    Can CFR be used for air freight?

    CFR, or Cost and Freight, doesn’t work for air freight because it involves delivery specifically “on board” a ship. For air shipments, you might want to consider using CPT or FCA, where you can specify that the seller pays the freight charges. Remember, CFR is tailored for use in maritime and inland waterway transport.


    Some Words from
    our Clients