Opportunity Amidst Challenge in the Global Air Cargo Industry
Cargo air carriers today, particularly those operating flights throughout dynamic emerging markets, face a number of unique challenges, albeit in a sector filled with opportunity. In a February 2018 Cargo Strategy report, the IATA outlined the following areas of focus for the cargo industry moving ahead; safety and security; industry management; business transformation; and, visibility and digitization.
With the rapid growth of e-commerce, thanks in part to companies like AliExpress, and the headquartering of production in China, a growing challenge most modern shipping companies today face is the efficient delivery of goods from hubs such as China to their destinations. Many governments accordingly tackle with the change in shipping practices from China – specifically, the shift from a few well known importers and exporters to the trend of smaller, individual importers and exporters that are largely unknown. The IATA estimates the global ecommerce revenue for 2019 to be $3.5 trillion dollars.
A key solution to modernizing air cargo is a software IT program designed for monitoring and load planning, such as that which has been implemented by Silk Way West Airlines in 2017. This solution serves to ensure effective management of freight on multiple flight-leg operations, allowing Silk Way to streamline loading and unloading of freighter aircraft, and adjust for the complexities of centre-of-gravity considerations, present in air cargo, but not in commercial passenger flights.
Silk Way, a trusted and longstanding contractor to the U.S. government, has expanded further in to Eastern Europe, notably re-launching operations in Budapest. “In the spirit of the ancient silkroad, we want to facilitate this growth by providing regular shipping opportunities to Central Europe as well as into the booming Middle Eastern and Asian markets with the establishment of this connection,” said Wolfgang Meier, CEO of Silk Way West Airlines, in a recent Advisory.
While air shipping is certainly the most efficient mode of transit, customers are not necessarily choosing air shipping for the speed. Air cargo offers the highest reliability, predictability, security (at the forefront of logistics coordination, shippers must work closely with customs and security forces to ensure the safety of all packages delivered) as well as better control of the climate and conditions of the cargo.
The industry faces many challenges, but with support from regulators and the public sector, constant modernization and refinement of shipping channels, integration of next-generation technology and comprehensive safety and security measures, the global shipping industry will continue to enjoy prosperity for generations to come.