Air cargo supply chains will remain under pressure

Air cargo industry analysts are also observing that as the peak ocean season cools, the peak air season warms up.

This year, air fares are under even greater upward pressure than usual due to reduced passenger jet capacity – which could be made worse by omicron fears – and congestion due to shortages. of manpower among overwhelmed ground crews. Strict quarantine restrictions in places like Hong Kong also complicate operations for many air cargo providers.

Niall van de Wouw, Managing Director of CLIVE Data Services in Amsterdam, says the air freight market remains very demanding and ever-changing due to the COVID-19 regulatory landscape, outbreaks of new variants and growing vaccine distribution needs .

“And that means higher rates across the board,” he adds. “Matching capacity to needs will be the number one concern for shippers in 2022 – almost regardless of the price.”

But there may be light on the horizon, said Brendan Sullivan, global cargo manager for the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

He sees improved cooperation throughout the logistics supply chain as governments and border authorities drive the safe transport of millions of tonnes of life-saving medical supplies and the delivery of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We achieved what was the most sophisticated global logistics operation ever undertaken, but there were and still are challenges that need to be addressed,” he says. “Despite this, air cargo has emerged from the pandemic even stronger and more agile than before. And therefore, is well positioned to support the global economic recovery and overcome future challenges. “

Addressing the capacity crisis, he underlined a tendency towards the “renewal of the fleet” of airlines.

“We are already seeing great examples at Atlas Air, DHL and Lufthansa,” he says. “All of them have recently signed new aircraft contracts. And electric planes have also garnered some interest, with UPS planning to purchase up to 150 electric freight carriers. DHL Express is also ordering its very first fully electric cargo planes.

Logistics officials can also mitigate price increases, Sullivan said, by agreeing to pay a premium for airlines purchasing “sustainable aviation fuel,” initiated by industry leader Lufthansa Cargo.

“And FedEx and DHL Express are committed to getting 30% of their jet fuel from alternative fuels by 2030,” he said.

Finally, according to Sullivan, operators have more opportunities to improve their operational efficiency through modernization and digitization, which should be a priority to lower tariffs.

“The most important areas of growth are cross-border e-commerce and special handling items such as time and temperature sensitive payloads,” he concludes. Shippers of these products want to know where their items are and what condition they are in at all times during transit. It requires digitization and data.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Editor-in-Chief Mr. Burnson is a writer and publisher of numerous publications specializing in international trade, global logistics and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He can be contacted at his office in the city center: [email protected]

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