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Editorial comment - March 2016

My first issue as editor of Airline Cargo Management coincides with the magazine’s annual industry survey – an ideal chance to take the pulse of the industry and find out what our readers are thinking.
 

My first issue as editor of Airline Cargo Management coincides with the magazine’s annual industry survey – an ideal chance to take the pulse of the industry and find out what our readers are thinking.

 

While no one’s breaking out the champagne when it comes to growth forecasts – both for individual businesses and for the sector – most respondents were cautious to say the least, though it’s clear that some see huge opportunities in Asia there for the taking. It will be interesting to see how economic turbulence in China affects air cargo operators. That being said, even in a slowing Chinese economy, growth is still healthy by most countries’ standards. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunities in smaller, rapidly-growing economies like Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines for those who move fast to seize them.

 

While pharmaceuticals came top of the list of sectors that survey participants want to focus on, a sizeable number of them – about a third – also cited perishables as an interesting growth market. Our in-depth look at the potential for perishables explores the technologies that are helping make sure exotic fruits and flowers arrive at their destination intact. And in a tough market environment, where every penny counts, we explore the cost-cutting benefits of outsourcing ULD management. Can any operators afford to turn down the possibility of 20% cost savings?

 

This issue’s foray into transpacific trade lanes reveals concerns over the excess capacity that has been built up, specifically in China – something that is threatening yields. Globally, survey respondents also flagged up a mismatch between capacity and demand as a key concern – unsurprising perhaps, but nonetheless a worry for the industry.

 

E-freight once again emerged as a key issue – only 14% of respondents to the survey said they were confident that e-freight was fully in place.

 

TIACA secretary general Doug Brittin, this issue’s Leading Light, echoed those concerns, saying that although progress was encouraging, there was some way to go. Will 2016 be the year freight operators make real progress towards a paperless process? Watch this space.

 

Brittin also flagged up cyber security issues – noting that operators will have to get up to speed on the security of their systems as they move further in the digital world.

 

All in all, 2016 looks set to be another busy year for air freight. Next year’s survey will give us a chance to assess how much progress has really been made.


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