Air Transport Publications
Login   |   Register
jobs Jobs
events Events
My bookmarks

Heads together

Players from across the air cargo industry gathered in Paris for the TIACA Air Cargo Forum in October. Helen Massy-Beresford heard about the big issues of capacity, communication and cooperation – amid a mood of quiet optimism

Two big industry events in recent weeks – FIATA’s World Congress in Dublin and TIACA’s Air Cargo Forum in Paris – have given the industry the opportunity to take stock, discuss the long-running issues that operators are facing and look ahead to what the future may hold. 


Sebastiaan Scholte, Chief Executive Officer of Jan de Rijk Logistics and Vice-Chair of TIACA, tackled exactly that during a session entitled Air Cargo: What lies ahead? at the Air Cargo Forum in Paris. According to Scholte, one big question dominating industry brains was how and whether it is possible to translate economic forecasts into forecasts for the cargo industry. 


“Before, it was straightforward – it was a factor of GDP growth. Those metrics are no longer valid. Since the crisis, it has become more and more difficult to forecast as there are so many other factors that play a role.”


The fundamental question of whether there is a role for freighters in the future, given the rapid growth in the passenger business and its implications for overcapacity is also a hot topic, Scholte says. 


Ariaen Zimmerman, Executive Director of Cargo iQ, took part in the Global Shippers Forum briefing at the Air Cargo Forum, discussing how data and interoperability can help drive performance in a fragmented market.


“An ongoing topic is pressure on our rates in general, which is a challenge. We need to be more agile,” Zimmerman says. “I think in that respect TIACA is setting the course in the right direction by saying that we should talk about industry performance, how we interlink and new developments in technology allowing that possibility – getting shippers more involved in what we do for them,” Zimmerman says. 


Communication is key. “Margins are under pressure, so we can’t afford to have any waste: we need to reduce the number of mistakes in the supply chain and for that we need to have better cooperation and share data and talk the same language. We are in a fragmented market and the performance we have is dependent on the interaction between those fragments.” 


The gradual but slow adoption of the e-Air Waybill is still the biggest technological concern of the industry at the moment, Zimmerman says. But there are exciting new technologies on the horizon too. “The most interesting ones are those that are going to allow us to communicate with packages – using sensors to see where they are and how they are and as a next step, possibly talk to one another and the systems moving them around.”


In the more immediate future, many unfolding geopolitical events – including Brexit, unrest in Turkey, the US elections and the situation in Syria – will all have an as-yet impossible to assess impact on world trade. There are big opportunities for the air cargo sector in changing consumer habits – but operators need to be prepared to make the most of them. 


“E-commerce is in essence good for the air cargo industry but we have to ask, are we still able to do what we do right now in the same way? Maybe we should change our handling facilities. Is our model still valid for the future?” Scholte asks.


Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo’s e-freight Project Manager, Jean-Louis Salfati, took part in a session on e-business challenges in Paris, discussing the technology and communication challenges the air cargo industry faces as it seeks to make the most of a global B2C e-commerce sector expected to hit $2.3 trillion globally by 2017.


Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo’s Director of Marketing and Communication, Laurent Petitmangin, says e-commerce is encouraging operators to seek out new business models. 


“We are moving from a model in which we had an enormous amount of full-freighter capacity to a more mixed model, with less cargo capacity, making use of the holds on our passenger aircraft. E-commerce can help us make this transition, propose different services to our customers and perhaps reach new customers,” says Petitmangin>>

To download the PDF file for this article, you have to pay the amount by pressing the PayPal button below!

Filename: Heads together.pdf
Price: £10

Contact our team for more information!

The Cargo channel

Industry blog
Autonomous freight drones: a revolution in air cargo?


You must be logged in to post a comment.

Please login or sign up for a free account.

Disclaimer text: The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily express the views of Air Transport Publications Ltd. or any of its publications.