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Editorial comment - December 2016

In-depth analysis from Seabury and the positive mood at the TIACA Air Cargo Forum suggest stronger growth is around the corner

As the year draws to a close, it’s the ideal moment to take stock and the in-depth analysis that Seabury provides in this issue gives us the opportunity to do just that.


Our partners at Seabury have taken an in-depth look at the sectors, routes and regions that grew in 2016 and explored the reasons behind the lacklustre performance in those that did less well. They’ve also looked ahead to what 2017 may have in store.


So, what’s the verdict? 2016 has undoubtedly been a tough year for air cargo and Seabury expects cargo revenues worldwide may be down around 6% this year, with lower oil prices and declines in high-tech and automotive and the usual suspect – overcapacity – all taking their toll.


But it’s been getting progressively less tough as the months roll by with major bright spots in the perishables sector.


The stronger second-half – also spared the West Coast port strike hangover that clouded the early months of the year – looks to be setting the tone for a brighter 2017, although big geopolitical events such as Brexit and turmoil in the Middle East may have an effect.


Air cargo industry executives are cautious by nature, so at the TIACA Air Cargo Forum in Paris, held just before Airline Cargo Management went to press, delegates were hardly breaking out the champagne. But there was a palpable sense of optimism – albeit cautious optimism – in the air as everyone from airlines to forwarders, shippers to ground handlers gathered in the French capital to discuss the big industry issues. 


While demand for transporting goods by air may be on the rise, players know they have to be fully prepared to take advantage of it. 


An overarching theme was how improving data and communication can help them do just that – how digital advances can help players share information more effectively and what needs to be done to ensure they make the most of what these new technologies have to offer. Everyone knows that more work needs to be done on e-freight but players also benefitted from expert advice on how embracing the cloud can improve efficiency. 


This was the last TIACA forum for Doug Brittin, Secretary General, who is retiring. We spoke to him about what the organisation has achieved during his
tenure and what is still left to be done. 

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