Now, more than ever, the sector needs to collaborate in setting up standards and systems for reliable service delivery – to develop and implement a variety of products that meet their customers’ varying demands, believes Cargo iQ executive director Ariaen Zimmerman
2020 made one thing very clear: the world as a whole, and the airline industry in particular, depend on air cargo. While air cargo could have become somewhat of an afterthought for many an airline executive by the end of 2019, it was at the forefront of their thoughts at the end of 2020. By then, air cargo had proven one of the few revenue sources that kept going strongly and, in many ways, even improved its financial results. Many professionals in the air cargo industry couldn’t help but feel that their work had finally received the recognition it deserves.
As a result, going into 2021, one may be tempted to think that air cargo now has a secure position as core to the air transport industry, but I fear that is not the case. So far, the health of the air cargo industry has primarily reflected the balance between capacity and demand, and nothing has really changed. The COVID crisis had some limited effects on demand, but it had a huge effect on capacity, with increasing rates as a result.
“So far, the health of the air cargo industry has primarily reflected the balance between capacity and demand, and nothing has really changed”
The aircraft of dedicated cargo operators and integrators became incredibly valuable. Consequently, the relative share of integrators on the air cargo market will have gone up, and in 2021 the air cargo industry will have to show how serious it is about creating a sustainably profitable activity for the future in that changed landscape. More so when passenger capacity will have come back.
Now, more than ever, the air cargo industry will have to show it is willing to collaborate in setting up standards and systems for reliable service delivery – to be willing to develop and implement a variety of products that meet their customers’ varying demands.
The air cargo industry works with a single infrastructure of flights to satisfy a plethora of different shipment needs. Some shipments are urgent, some need care, some need low costs, but all of them are driven by one overarching need: they all look for the most economic logistical solution.
To deliver the best solution to its customers, the air cargo industry has to work together: forwarders, truckers, carriers, ground handlers. Essential to that cooperation are reliability in delivery to each other and sharing information; thorough planning, control and evaluation of all the various partners that make up the air cargo logistics chain.
I believe that the industry should now pick up and use the momentum that COVID has given it through recognition, and make some serious steps forward, in line with Cargo iQ’s mission: Plan. Deliver. Control. Together.