Published: 01/15/2024

Insider’s Tips for Successful Air Freight Pickup 

This guide will give you the know-how to conquer air freight pickups like a pro, saving you from nerve-wracking phone calls and stressful situations. 


Stressed and overwhelmed by confusing airport cargo pickup? Don’t worry! This guide will give you the tools and know-how to conquer air freight pickups like a pro, saving you from nerve-wracking phone calls and stressful situations. 

#WSLProTips: Pre-Pick Up Checklist  

  • Ensure your trucker secures two physical copies of the Delivery Order (DO) – the boarding pass for your cargo. Showing up without this vital document can result in costly storage fees.  
  • Check the Air Waybill (AWB) number matches your manifest, confirm the trucker’s callsign (name) is listed, and double-check the designated Ground Service Provider (GSP) handling station’s address – some (GSP) have multiple locations in the same airport.  
  • Don’t forget to confirm the Last Free Day (LFD) – the deadline for your cargo’s departure – by contacting the consignee directly.  
  • Gather all proof of payment for fees like Import Service Charges (ISCs), storage charges, and customs clearance – think of them as your cargo’s passport stamps. Having these on hand can expedite the release process and prevent unnecessary delays at the (GSP).  

After you finish your pre-pick-up checklist, it’s time for the pickup protocol. When arriving at the GSP, your trucker must check in with the shipping clerk or kiosk and present the DO, like a pilot presenting their flight plan. Additionally, it is common for most GSPs to allow drivers a walk-around inspection on the dock as part of the pre-loading inspection. Use this opportunity to:  

Spot Damage: If your cargo looks like it’s been through a turbulence storm, request a Damage Report from the GSP agent. This safeguards both you and your trucker from potential liability claims down the line.  

AWB Accuracy: Confirm each piece of cargo matches the corresponding AWB number listed on the DO. Mismatched cargo can be rerouted to the wrong destination, creating a logistics nightmare. Remember, pictures speak louder than words, so capture photographic evidence of the AWB on each piece.  

Load & Secure: Check if your cargo is strapped in like a first-class passenger. Take photos of the loaded trailer to document proper securing with straps or load bars. This can be crucial for damage claims later.  

Time is Money: Get those in and out times documented by the GSP agent. This helps claim detention time compensation for delays and provides proof of the incident to your customer.  

Seal the Deal: For closed trailers, have your trucker apply a tamper-evident seal (not provided by the GSP) for added peace of mind during the journey.  

Delivery docking involves several important steps to ensure a smooth and secure air freight pickup process. One of the optional measures is seal verification, where a photo is taken of the cargo after the consignee breaks the seal to confirm that there have been no mishaps during transit. Consistency with the delivery order (DO) is also crucial, as the trucker should use the same DO for both pickup and delivery. This is important because additional paperwork from the (GSP) may not contain all the necessary DO information, so it is best to stick to the original flight plan.  

Another important aspect of delivery docking is signature security. It is essential to obtain the consignee’s full name, signature, time, and date on the DO, as this serves as proof of delivery and expedites the invoicing process. To ensure efficient record-keeping, requesting a PDF of the signed DO from the trucker is recommended. This not only speeds up invoicing upon delivery but also ensures that all paperwork is for a smooth landing. By following these steps, your business can enhance the efficiency and security of its delivery docking procedures. 

Beyond the Basics:  

This guide covers the essential maneuvers for mastering air freight pickup, but remember, the skies are never completely clear. Special cargo like the fragile, perishable, or high-value variety requires additional handling expertise and specific permits. But with these foundational tips in your cargo hold, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of air freight pickups with confidence and efficiency.  

Feel like you need expert support for your next cargo run? At White Star Logistics, Inc., we’re seasoned air freight navigators, guiding shippers like you through air freight pickup. With over a decade of experience, we help you minimize liabilities, navigate the detailed cargo recovery process, and ensure your precious cargo is delivered smoothly every time. So, contact us today – let the White Star Logistics team be your co-pilot on your next air freight adventure! 

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