Optimism within the air freight / air cargo world is typically cautious but a consistent run of positive indicators from industry analysts, manufacturers and associations sees a bright run of growth ahead for 2015. These are the underlying themes from the recent 2014 Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium which was held at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, with feedback courtesy of Air Cargo World.
In fairness the general economic indicators underpin the hopes of the sector but nothing is as measurable as the data in the industry which continue to show air freight traffic moving upward. On the opening day of the session Shawn McWhorter, president-NCA Americas, for Nippon Cargo Airlines said;
“What’s happening now is real. Since late 2013, we have seen slow, sustained growth and trans-Pacific growth. This didn’t come out of nowhere, and it’s not a one-time blip. It’s not worldwide, but the last three years have shown signs of real recovery.” and added he has "requests going unmet because forwarders didn’t buy enough capacity at peak season. That’s unheard of over the last few years.”
Supply and demand sit at the heart of the equation of course and for the first time in years there is a greater demand for air cargo services than supply. What is also refreshing to hear is that as traumatic as the global recession of 2008 was, important lessons were learned within the air freight world which can be applied now and in the future. According to Doug Brittin, secretary general of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) the financial crisis forced air cargo companies to become much more flexible, benefits which are still resounding today, and that carriers learned how to quickly move aircraft to the specific regions of growth. As we've discussed here previously on the Air Freight Blog the Asian and Middle East markets are leading the growth but forecasts for North America (including Mexico) and Europe also continue to improve.
Only Latin America is showing a more stuttering scenario due to economies most notably in Brazil, facing downturns once more. The meeting also heard that improved efficiencies within the air freight industry will be key to avoid seeing the industry struggle and it was expressed that a willingness to share data within the sector and react far more rapidly to constant changes can help sustain growth for shipments by air. Meeting deadlines and turnaround times was vital to maintain the advantages of air shipment versus sea and ground shipping.