Frequently Asked Questions

Four Star Air Cargo Frequently Asked Questions

How do I send a shipment by air?

Which carrier(s) serve the origin and destination I need?

How much will it cost?

The first three questions all have the same answer.  Look in such publications as the Official Airline Guide's Air Cargo Edition, the TACT air cargo tariff, the ATPCO air cargo tariff, or the Shipper's Air Tariff.  These books can be confusing, so feel free to consult with us directly.  To find out how go to the contact us page.

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How should I (or a shipper)
pack my shipment?
The first three rules for packing shipments are: containerize, containerize, and containerize.  Special containers are available from freight forwarders and carriers for air cargo shipments.  Talk to our friendly and knowledgeable staff to find out what current options are available at Four Star Air Cargo.

  • Containers protect your cargo from physical damage and from rain.
  • Containers protect your cargo from thieves, by making it more difficult to pilfer.
  • Containers usually are given lower rates by the airlines than cargo of the same weight.
  • Containers keep your cargo from being split up, and portions of it getting lost or strayed.
  • Containers are difficult to lose.  When is the last time you misplaced a 1,000 pound box?
  • Containers, when properly used, are the best, least expensive insurance there is.

Label each piece in big, bold letters in two places with the name, address, and phone number of the shipper and consignee.

Bind your shipment (hopefully in its container) with metal bands.  Use three in each direction around the piece.  Use numbered seals (like those on your electric meter, if possible).

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What is a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder specializes in providing shipping services that the airlines may not.  Just as you would use a lawyer for legal matters a CPA for accounting work, the freight forwarder can provide pick up and delivery, packing and crating, and expedite the processing of Customs and Excise Tax clearances.

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What is an Air Waybill?
An Air Waybill is a contract agreement between you and the airline for transportation, subject to the  terms and conditions in the contract.  You should be familiar with them.  The Air Waybill contract agreement generally appears on the back of the Air Waybill.

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What is a Declared Value for Carriage?
A Declared Value for Carriage is a value entered on the Air Waybill that determines a carrier's maximum liability in case of loss or damage to a shipment.

When no value is declared (NVD), a carrier's automatic limit of liability is determined by the Contract of Carriage and/or the Carrier's tariff.

The most common automatic limits are $.50 cents per pound for domestic shipments and $9.07 per pound for international ones.  When your Declared Value for Carriage exceeds these limits, a fee is charged by the carrier for accepting additional risk. 

In order to collect on a claim based on a Declared Value for Carriage, you must prove:

  1. What Carrier had the cargo when the loss or damage occurred.
  2. That the Carrier was negligent in its treatment of the cargo.
  3. The lost or damaged cargo was really worth what you are claiming.

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What is Shipper's All Risk Insurance?
Shipper's all risk insurance is insurance sold to the shipper at the time of Air Waybill preparation.  This kind of insurance affords better coverage than a Declared Value for Carriage.  Terms vary from airline to airline but usually will cover a shipment from the time the first airline takes possession of the cargo until the last airline gives up possession of it.

In order to collect on Shippers All Risk Insurance, you generally need only prove: 

  1. The cargo was tendered in good condition, and in compliance with the Contract of Carriage.
  2. The cargo was not received in good condition (or at all).
  3. The actual amount of your loss.  This may include such things as packing and crating charges, etc. that are reasonable, usually up to 10% of the value of the cargo itself.

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How do I Track a Shipment?
Click here if you need us to track a shipment for you.

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How do I Handle Unusual Shipments?
Certain kinds of shipments have special requirements, which vary from one carrier to another.  You must be certain that you and the Carrier (or the Forwarder) completely understand the nature of your shipment.  Examples of such cargo include, but are not limited to:

  • Articles of unusual size or length
  • Articles of extraordinary value
  • Art objects
  • Hazardous materials
  • Perishables
  • Very fragile items
  • Live animals
  • Very high or low density cargo
  • Human remains

And there are many more.  Check with your carrier for special rules and rates for any unusual shipment.

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