What do you do when your shipment involves two air carriers, but they are not interline?
It is common for one shipment to travel with multiple air carriers; however, almost all are interline which means they will coordinate and transfer shipments among themselves without issues. It helps when there is a freight forwarder involved who will take on this task for us, as we would expect them to take on all the coordination of a shipment. In some cases when the shipper is doing it all themselves, it can be challenging … like last week.
Let Me Set the Scene
The shipper is in Vancouver, BC and is shipping a variety of products (DG and non-DG) to 2 different communities in Northern Canada. They decided to do the logistics themselves. Since they don’t have air certification they asked for our repackaging services for the DG. The DG included some compressed cylinders, batteries, and life saving appliances. All commodities are acceptable for air transport. There would be 3 pallets leaving from Vancouver; 2 pallets are destined for one community and 1 pallet is destined for another community.
Here is the Issue
All 3 pallets are going to Ottawa, ON first. From there 2 of the pallets are going to one community and 1 pallet to another. All 3 pallets are going on Air Canada from Vancouver to Ottawa, from Ottawa the pallets are going with different carriers to different communities. So, it splits in Ottawa. Air Canada is not interline with the final carriers.
This meant I needed to be very clear and concise with communication to both our client and the air carriers on the how these pallets will move. To make it easier I generated 2 sets of shipper’s declarations showing the original and final destination for shipper/consignee addresses for each community; the addresses on the shipper’s declaration does not to need to be the same as the airway bill as per § 126.96.36.199 – § 188.8.131.52 of the IATA Regulations. Basically, that meant 1 Air Canada airway bill will have 2 sets of DG documents.
I made sure the markings on the pallets reflected the accompanying shipper’s declarations. I placed 4 original (colored) copies of the shipper’s declarations for each destination and put them in an envelope and taped it on the outside of each pallet and wrote attention to the airline which will haul if from Ottawa to the community. The Air Canada copies were provided separately. I think I must have printed in total 20 copies of the shipper’s declarations to ensure all 3 air carriers have the sufficient amount needed. I advised our client to inform the air carriers in Ottawa that DG documents will be in an envelope taped on the outside of the pallets. Crossed my fingers that the airline DG agent understands my methodology on how this shipment will go and sent it out.
I emailed our client a couple of days later to check on the shipment and she reported that all of the pallets arrived at their final destinations as scheduled. It worked!
When it comes to these multiple shipments with multiple air carriers that aren’t linked it can be challenging. So it’s a relief when someone who can accept or decline the shipment understands your methodology.