International Air Freight

International Air Freight

Trade disruption caused by tariff wars — such as the dispute between the US and China — or the UK’s exit from the European Union, extreme weather, and unpredictable consumer demand are all factors that have increased the need for emergency shipments that can only be sent via air, rather than by slow-moving maritime containers. Another factor is the surge in sales of time-sensitive e-commerce parcels that must be delivered by air to meet the needs of ever more demanding customers.

Driven by greater uncertainty and the growing popular of electronic commerce, global air cargo shipments increased by 9.7 in 2017. And yet air cargo tonnage growth slipped to less than half that pace [3.5 percent] in 2018, measured in freight tonnage [not value], according to the International Air Transport Association. In North America, growth has slowed to a similar level [3.2 percent last year.]

Although e-commerce shipments are robust, they also generate challenges for the air cargo sector: Products ordered online take up more space when shipped in their individual packaging than other products that are more often packed onto pallets. Other uncertainties are sudden flare-ups in congestion, rising fuel prices and higher trucking rates. Moreover, only 30 to 40 percent of air freight is planned and shipped by choice, say air cargo executives. The rest is shipped by accident, when the market changes suddenly, machines have broken down, or other emergencies force shippers to bear the extra cost.

Commentary

To avoid the dreaded stockouts while meeting customer expectations for fast delivery and product variety, shippers are steadily consuming more air freight capacity.

News & Analysis

11 Jun 2020
Freighters and converted passenger craft are taking longer to unload than belly freight and some ground handlers are understaffed after furloughs and layoffs in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
01 May 2020
Traditionally low air freight margins are being further depressed by fierce competition among forwarders to secure limited capacity, with travel bans grounding most of the passenger fleet on east-west trades.
16 Mar 2020
The travails of crab shippers underscore the larger impact COVID-19 is having on North American exporters that face higher outbound air cargo rates because of the removal of belly cargo capacity on passenger jets due to cancellations tied to the disease.
12 Mar 2020
The sudden US travel ban imposed on 12 European countries will hurt an air freight industry still battling to overcome the loss of belly cargo capacity from the suspension of passenger flights to China.
PortMiami wins $44 million federal grant for perishables
14 Feb 2020
PortMiami won a $44 million federal grant which will be used to improve the cold chain cargo facilities to handle temperature-controlled food, and perishables such as flowers.
24 Dec 2019
After a disappointing peak season in 2019, the outlook for international air freight in 2020 will depend on an acceleration in global trade demand and an easing of tensions between the United States and its trading partners, particularly China.
10 Dec 2019
Long-term contracted volume is crucial for airlines setting budgets and forecasts, but in the face of weak demand and a bleak 2020 outlook, forwarders are reluctant to commit.
08 Oct 2019
Canadian forwarder Manitoulin adds to its US holdings, expanding its global logistics network.
10 Sep 2019
Shippers worry “unreasonable” air freight fees, tighter cargo screening regulations, and the region’s dependence on transshipment could cause Hong Kong to cede more cargo to air and sea ports in southern China.
03 Sep 2019
Freight operations are suspended in much of Florida as Hurricane Dorian passes on its way toward the Georgia and Carolina coasts.
UPS targets low-cost, e-commerce shippers with deferred delivery
24 Jul 2019
UPS is targeting cross-border e-commerce sellers with a deferred-delivery shipping product that would cost less than tighter delivery windows, a sign of integrators wanting to tap into forecast growth in international online sales.
03 Jun 2019
The outlook for air cargo is turning negative as carriers face headwinds in the form of trade upheaval and falling demand.
21 May 2019
Shipper interest in a free trade zone in Zhuhai, China, is being driven by a shortage of logistics space and rocketing rental prices across the Pearl River in Hong Kong.
17 May 2019
The escalating trade dispute between the US and China is driving keen interest in air freight on the busy trans-Pacific trade routes.
04 Mar 2019
As US airports, terminal operators, and ground handlers are taking heat for rampant truck congestion and cargo delays, two software firms are looking to bring digitization and automation to airport freight handling operations.
01 Mar 2019
The Airforwarders Association’s mission to put an end to congestion at major US airports is already bearing fruit, but forwarders in New York and Boston worry airport efforts won’t address underlying issues.
01 Mar 2019
O'Hare tops New York’s JFK as even more congested, with trucks trying to get their loads in and out of the airport thwarted by vehicular traffic, handling, and operational delays.
12 Feb 2019
The promise of digitization and real-time pricing is forcing the air freight industry to rethink longstanding booking practices.
07 Feb 2019
The action, which involves both private and public sector union workers, will affect all transport providers in Europe's second-largest container port as well as Brussels Airport.
05 Feb 2019
Speakers at the Cargo Facts EMEA conference in Frankfurt say trade disruptions and booming e-commerce will continue to drive increased global air cargo volume.
Air cargo being load in Beijing, China.
15 Jan 2019
After a subdued end to 2018 and trade and with economic hurdles stacking up, there are relatively low expectations for the trans-Pacific air cargo market in 2019.
Air cargo being loaded in China.
05 Dec 2018
Of course, many factors can be involved in an air cargo volume uptrend, but this holiday season trade tension and the threat of higher tariffs certainly is one.
Brussels air cargo.
19 Nov 2018
Like commercial aviation’s takeoff and landing slot booking system, BRUcloud enables forwarders to reserve guaranteed slot times and designated warehouse dock doors with ground handlers, enabling their truckers to quickly discharge loads or collect shipments.
Air cargo in China.
09 Nov 2018
Three major online buying events — Singles’ Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are coming — and when they are combined with the evolution of the three into global shopping and shipping events, it means more pressure on air freight pipelines.
Air cargo being loaded.
19 Oct 2018
“I don’t know if the peak this year will look like last year, but we have about 20 freighters and take a lot of volume in our widebody fleet that we expanded quite a bit, so there are a lot more destinations,” Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg said. “But going into next year the future is unknown.”
Air cargo at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
27 Sep 2018
At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest passenger and 42nd busiest cargo airport, congestion and delays in picking up/dropping off loads are adding wait time surcharges, and in some cases storage expenses, on to already high transport bills.
Air cargo loading.
08 Aug 2018
“Trade wars never produce winners. Governments must remember that prosperity comes from boosting their trade, not barricading economies,” the International Air Transport Association said.
Schiphol Airport
03 Aug 2018
Schiphol’s management said it expected lower overall freighter air traffic movements in the first half, due to capacity constraints, but its longer-term analysis remains encouraging.
Air cargo being loaded in Poland.
31 Jul 2018
However, shippers should still expect some robust peak season pricing from the airlines that are seeking to extend their profitability, which grew at a strong rate in the first quarter.
And Antonov plane.
28 Mar 2018
Life has been good for heavy-lift air cargo operator Antonov after the breakup with its partner, with the company notching job wins in oil and gas, energy, aerospace, agriculture, telecommunications, and other industries. But that, in a sense, was not surprising, given its advantage — seven AN-124-100 freighters with payloads capable of transporting 150 metric tons.
19 Mar 2018
E-commerce and pharmaceuticals are driving up air cargo volume and leading the industry into a period of sustainable growth.
12 Mar 2018
Aligning capacity with fluctuating demand and sticker-shock pricing is always a tough dance in the air cargo spot market, and it is getting more difficult.
09 Mar 2018
The scheduled Hong Kong-LAX freighter service to be launched by Flexport is aimed at locking in space on the busy route.
FedEx - one of the world's leading air freight companies.
13 Feb 2018
Driven by rising e-commerce sales, last year saw a 9.5 percent surge in global air freight tonnage for the 12 months ended Nov. 2017 — the industry’s strongest performance since the global financial crisis of 2010; and the uptrend is expected to continue in 2018.
22 Jan 2018
The recovering air cargo market is generating unprecedented growth at selected airports in Asia and Europe.