There will be mergers within the Australian air cargo forwarding industry as competition increases and agency margins decrease.

That is the view of the Australian subsidiary of America's Emery Worldwide.Australian General Manager William Kendall stated: The smaller operators are finding it tough to compete against large companies like Emery which have the buying power with the airlines and the network to provide first class service at attractive market rates.

He stated: It is a buyers' market. Service and communication enhancements have now become a matter of survival.

He stated that air cargo was a highly competitive business in which customers demanded quality and timely information at competitive prices.

Emery Australia was one of three freight forwarders which recently received special awards from America's Continental Airlines.

Each of the forwarders provided in excess of $1 million of cargo for the airline during 1987. The other two were Panalpina World Transport and Ansett International Air Freight.

Continental's Australian area General Manager Col Hughes said the three companies have been at the forefront of our spectacular cargo growth in Australia.

He added: They are three companies which enjoy enviable reputations in the air freight industry, and we are fortunate to have the support of this group of professionals.

Emery Australia's Mr. Kendall said that as customer demands and expectations continued to rise, many air freight carriers and forwarders were looking at providing computer tracking facilities to attract new business and improve services for exporters and importers.

He stated: This is becoming more important in the United States where air express carriers are trying to outdo each other with dial-up tracking and tracing systems.

He said these systems would eventually be available for international use. New advances were being made daily, providing improved tracking and tracing systems by direct computer links between Emery and its clients.

In revenue terms, Emery's Australian operations yielded about US$31 million in 1986, out of a total of about US$900 million worldwide, including U.S. domestic operations.

Revenue from the Australian operations represent roughly 10 percent of all international business, excluding the U.S. domestic scene.

During his visit to Australia last year, Emery Worldwide chairman John C. Emery advocated the complete deregulation of Australia's international air cargo industry.

He pointed out that since the United States deregulated air cargo operations, the market had increased four-fold.

He added: This increase would be considerably higher in Australia where the market is still in the emerging stage.