Optimism in the air cargo world is tempered, but a steady stream of positive numbers from industry analysts, manufacturers and associations indicates that we’re in for a bright growth year in 2015. These are the main themes of the recent 2014 Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium held at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, with feedback courtesy of Air Cargo World.
Of course, general economic parameters determine the industry’s outlook, but nothing is as measurable as industry metrics, which continue to show growth in air cargo traffic. On opening day, Sean McWhorter, president of Nippon Cargo Airlines’ NCA Americas, said;
“What we’re seeing today is a reality. Since late 2013, we’ve seen gradual, steady growth and growth in trans-Pacific traffic. It didn’t come out of nothing, and it’s not a one-time jump. It’s not global growth, but over the past three years there have been signs of a real recovery,” he added, adding that “applications are not being met because freight forwarders have not acquired enough capacity during peak season. That’s rare in the last few years.”
Of course, supply and demand are at the heart of this situation, and now, for the first time in many years, demand for air cargo transportation exceeds supply. It’s also good to see that, as painful as the global recession was in 2008, there are important lessons learned in the air cargo world that can be applied today and in the future. According to Doug Brittin, general secretary of the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), the financial crisis forced air cargo companies to be more mobile, the benefits of which are still felt today, and carriers have mastered ways to move aircraft quickly to specific growth regions. As we discussed earlier in the Air Freight Logistics Blog, the Asian and Middle Eastern markets are leading the growth, but the outlook for North America (including Mexico) and Europe also continues to improve.
Only Latin America is showing more sluggish growth as the economy, especially in Brazil, faces another crisis. The meeting also noted that improving efficiency in the air cargo industry will be key to keeping the industry out of crisis. It was noted that being prepared to share data within the industry and responding more quickly to continuous changes can help sustain air cargo growth. Meeting deadlines and turnaround times was critical to retaining the advantage of air freight over ocean and land freight.