How air cargo transport works

Most goods are shipped by sea. Incredibly large boats the size of a small town carrying hundreds of containers is an image we have all seen or can mentally envision. This, however, is not the only way goods are transported in this day and age. When time is of the essence, or when goods are very precious in some cases, there are other methods which are used to transport goods over large distances. One of those is air cargo transport. In this blog, we would like to tell you a little bit more about that process, because most people have no idea how it works.


Similar to the port where ships dock to load and unload their goods, many airports function the same way. The passenger terminals, however, are entirely separated from the cargo terminals, which is why you will rarely see any of it happen. The cargo terminals is where the goods which are planned for air shipment are collected before they are loaded onto the plane.

Loading the cargo

From the terminal, all of the cargo designated for a certain flight is loaded onto the airplane. This is done with a Unit Load Device. A type of container that holds many smaller packages, which allows for easy loading and unloading of the aircrafts. On location, these devices are opened after which its contents are sorted before being further transported to their final destinations.

The flight

When all the cargo is loaded onto the airplane, it sets off for its journey to a different country and sometimes even different continent. There, as mentioned before, the plane is unloaded again and the goods which it carried are divided to further means of transportation in order to reach the final recipients, often up to 5 times faster than it would have been by boat.