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Air Freight Direct Vs. Consolidated

Air Freight Direct Vs. Consolidated

With the world steadily turning into a global village, shipping your products by air to international destinations could be an effective way for a business to expand its operations. But what should you choose between direct and consolidated shipping? Let’s have a detailed look at the differences and benefits of these shipping methods to help you make a decision-

What is Direct Air Freight?

Direct air freight, as the name suggests, is a process through which your goods or products are directly shipped to the customers. The method generally does not have involvement of intermediaries like wholesalers, distributors, or retailers. You ship the product via direct air freight and it directly reaches your customer.

One of the most significant benefits of direct shipping is the speed as the goods are directly delivered to the customers. As faster shipping time has become increasingly crucial in the e-commerce industry, many such businesses now rely on direct air freight to deliver the products to their customers at the earliest. Even many drop-shipping companies now use the direct shipping method.

What are the Benefits of Direct Air Freight?

  • Speed- As mentioned above, the biggest advantage of direct shipping is speed as the single shipment is directly delivered to the customer without any unpacking.
  • Security- When comparing air freight direct vs. consolidated, another major benefit of the former is safety as the goods are sent through a dedicated cargo space.
  • Reliability- Direct freight also reduces the risk of delays as the aircraft directly reaches the airport closest to the customer without stopping at any intermediate transfers.
  • Flexibility- With direct shipping, businesses have more control over the scheduling and routing aspects of their shipping.

Direct Air Freight Example

Let us consider an e-commerce company, located in the US that wants to urgently ship a smartphone to a customer in New Zealand. The business selects direct air freight and books a dedicated cargo space in the aircraft going to New Zealand with zero intermediate stops.

The aircraft reaches the nearest airport to the customer’s location and the smartphone is delivered to the customer as quickly as possible.

Direct Air Freight Example

What is Consolidated Air Freight?

With consolidated air freight, multiple shipments are consolidated into a single shipment and delivered to a single or multiple locations. While this method is not the most time-efficient, it is generally known to be cost-effective, especially when a business deals with smaller cargo loads and does not require the entire loading space of the aircraft to ship the products.

The consolidated air freight method is more popular among logistics companies and freight forwarders who work as intermediaries between a business and its international customers. Apart from cost savings, the consolidated shipping method ensures maximum utilization of the cargo space, benefiting the carrier and the shipper.

What are the Benefits of Consolidated Air Freight?

  • Cost Efficiency- One of the biggest advantages of freight consolidation is cost efficiency as it does not involve booking a dedicated cargo space.
  • Higher Service Frequency- Compared to direct shipping, more aircrafts are involved in consolidated shipping, offering businesses more frequent shipping options.
  • Improved Sustainability- With multiple shipments consolidated into one and shipped to customers, consolidated shipping also helps reduce carbon emissions.
  • Access to Global Markets- The lower shipping costs of consolidated shipping make it easier for smaller businesses to expand their reach globally.

Consolidated Air Freight Example

For the example of freight consolidation, let us assume there are multiple small businesses in the US wanting to ship their goods to New Zealand. Rather than booking dedicated cargo spaces in an aircraft, they contact a freight forwarder to consolidate their cargo.

So, the freight forwarding company will consolidate multiple small shipments into one and send the same to a hub like New York Airport in the US. From there, the shipment is sent to a hub like the Auckland Airport in New Zealand. The shipment is then unpacked and the goods of every US business are sent to different destinations.

What are the Biggest Differences Between Direct and Consolidated Air Freight?

What are the Biggest Differences Between Direct and Consolidated Air Freight?

Now that you know the meaning and benefits of air freight consolidated vs. direct, let’s find out the biggest differences between the two-

1. Shipping Method

Direct Shipping

As discussed above, when you choose direct air freight, a dedicated space is reserved for your goods on the aircraft and they are directly sent to your customers. There are no consolidation points or intermediate stops between the sender’s and receiver’s locations.

Consolidated Shipping

With consolidated shipping, multiple smaller consignments are consolidated into one, and space is reserved for this consolidated shipment. The shipment then reaches a hub from where it is sent to the receiver’s location.

2. Cost

Direct Shipping

Air freight direct vs. consolidated cost is another significant difference. Direct shipping is faster but more expensive. This might not be the best choice for smaller businesses that don’t regularly ship products internationally.

Consolidated Shipping

As consolidated shipping allows cargo space sharing, it generally proves less expensive. However, the transit times can be longer as there are consolidation and deconsolidation steps involved in the shipping process.

3. Volume and Frequency

Direct Shipping

Direct shipping is an ideal option for businesses that regularly send larger values of cargo or those who want to frequently send goods to specific international destinations at the earliest.

Consolidated Shipping

Businesses with smaller shipping volumes or those who don’t send shipments as frequently prefer the consolidated shipping method. By consolidating smaller shipments, this method offers excellent cost savings.

4. Documentation

Direct Shipping

Every individual shipment has to follow the documentation and customs procedures. As a result, this method can prove complex and time-consuming, especially for a small business that has recently started offering international shipping options.

Consolidated Shipping

As multiple shipments are combined into one, the consolidated shipping method is generally known to be less complex. Compared to direct shipping, it has reduced paperwork and administrative overheads.

5. Cargo Tracking

Cargo Tracking

Direct Shipping

Last but not least is air freight direct vs. consolidated tracking. The direct shipping method generally offers more detailed tracking capabilities as individual shipments can be separately tracked.

Consolidated Shipping

As multiple shipments are combined into one, consolidated shipping does not offer detailed tracking. Thus, it can be challenging for a business to track individual items throughout the shipping cycle.

Air Freight Direct Vs. Consolidated Comparison

Here’s the air freight direct vs. consolidated comparison table to offer a quick overview of their most significant differences-


Direct Air Freight

Consolidated Air Freight


Individual shipments are sent separately with dedicated cargo space

Multiple smaller shipments combined into one larger shipment

Cost and Efficiency

More expensive but faster transit times

Highly cost-effective but transit times are longer

Control and Flexibility

More control over scheduling and routing

Les flexibility in scheduling and routing

Security and Risk

Lower risk of loss or damage

The consolidation and deconsolidation process make it riskier


Each shipment requires individual documentation and customs clearance

Simplified documentation and customs clearance process


More detailed tracking and visibility

Consolidation makes tracking and visibility less efficient

Space Utilization

Dedicated space for each shipment

Shared space among multiple shipments

Customer Experience

More personalized and dedicated experience

More standard experience

What Should You Choose Between Direct and Consolidated Air Freight?

Businesses should carefully consider a variety of factors to make the right selection between air freight direct vs. consolidated. For instance, direct freight offers faster transit times and more controlled scheduling, routine, and tracking, leading to an improved customer experience. However, it is generally more expensive, especially in smaller volumes.

On the other hand, consolidated shipping offers significant cost savings through sharing the cargo space with other shipments. However, it generally involves longer transit times and less scheduling flexibility. As both methods have their pros and cons, businesses should understand their needs and requirements to make the right decision.

And if you’re looking to purchase branded goods online from countries like the US or the UK but the stores don’t offer international shipping, JetKrate can help. We’ve eliminated global shipping restrictions, allowing people to shop for their favorite products from any country without worrying about shipping. Visit JetKrate to know how it works.  


1.  What is a direct air shipment?

Direct air freight is when goods are transported from the origin to the destination without any consolidation or intermediate stops.

2.  How to do direct shipping?

For direct shipping, you must book a dedicated cargo space in an aircraft to send your individual shipment.

3.  What is better- direct or consolidated shipping?

The right selection between direct and consolidated shipping depends on factors like shipping urgency, budget constraints, and shipping volume.

4.  What is the fastest shipping method?

Direct air freight is generally faster as there is no consolidation involved.

5.  Which shipping method is cheapest?

Consolidated shipping is often the cheapest option as it allows multiple shipments to share space on the same carrier.

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