Air Cargo

The shift of freight from air to ocean is just a blip for container lines but has hit the air cargo industry hard, with few signs of relenting, a maritime consultant said Thursday.

Strong growth out of Hong Kong and China in September saw Cathay Pacific and Dragonair continuing to post double-digit growth as cargo and mail throughput rose 14.5 percent compared to the same month last year.

The air cargo market is improving based on evidence from a number of fronts — a situation that “we have not been able to talk about in years,” the investment firm BB&T said a report.

Lufthansa Cargo’s volume shrank 2.9 percent in September from a year ago, but the carrier cautiously anticipates a seasonal uptick in demand in the fourth quarter.

Royal Mail said it has set aside $29 million as part of a settlement with French competition authorities over a possible violation by one of its subsidiaries of antitrust laws.

China’s e-commerce market continues to generate incredible year-over-year growth and huge amounts of hype, but AirBridgeCargo’s executive president Denis Ilin brought the discussion down to Earth at an Air Cargo Forum panel in Seoul this week.

Air France-KLM’s freight traffic slumped 17.7 percent in September from a year ago largely due to a two-week-long strike by pilots at the carrier’s French unit that is expected to plunge Europe’s largest air cargo business deeper into the red.

The air cargo industry is in a battle for survival and needs to urgently address fast evolving shipper demands, said Glyn Hughes, global head of cargo for The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA).

There is no significant loss of air cargo to ocean freight, said Atlas Air president and CCO Michael Steen, arguing against a widely held industry belief that shippers were shifting modes to save on transport costs.

Lufthansa Cargo pilots will stage a 48-hour strike on Wednesday and Thursday, but the German airline said it will have little impact on shippers.