Apr – May 2019

issue 25

At WCS in Singapore, IATA’s Glyn Hughes said air freight has become more innovative than at any time in its history, with everyone talking about new initiatives they are working on, often reflecting new possibilities that technology opens up.

And a shift towards ‘solution-led standards’ from ‘standard-led solutions’ means companies and individuals are now trying new things that can then lead to the basis for new standards. That is faster and much more dynamic, encouraging greater innovation, Hughes notes, enabled by dramatic advances in digital technology.

Indeed, almost all of the tracks at WCS featured a strong vein of digitalisation, along with information-sharing and collaboration. And those three themes are common for most areas air freight needs to address, Hughes believes.

Importantly, there also now seems to be unprecedented support for pursuing initiatives to meet these challenges, with heads of cargo ‘bullish’ about embracing technology, and in a hurry to do so, he notes.

As well as being themes within this magazine’s coverage of WCS, they are common themes within the other articles: from the interview with Lufthansa Cargo CEO (and IATA Cargo Committee chairman) Peter Gerber on page 4, to the discussions about investments in cargo handling infrastructure on page 14; the dynamic changes within Asia highlighted on page 18; to the articles on data-sharing and new quality standards within pharma and perishables handling on pages 24 and 44, respectively.
Hughes noted how optimistic people seemed at WCS, despite the year starting relatively poorly – in terms of air cargo demand and uncertainty in the wider global economy. He suggests the sector has become more resilient than in the past, perhaps also buoyed by continuing strong demand from certain special cargo verticals, particularly e-commerce, in the last few years.

He believes this is one of the most significant ‘structural’ changes the sector has seen since the global financial crisis and growing protectionism slowed ‘the multiplier between international trade growth and GDP growth’ from around 2:1 to just 1:1. The ‘modal windfall’ from those special verticals means air freight is now ‘somewhat cushioned’ from the full depth of any slowdown in international trade.

IATA’s conclusion is this: while there has been a slowdown in recent months, once the uncertainty – e.g. from the US-China trade war and Brexit – is resolved, the industry can go back to a higher growth trajectory.

And in the meantime, there is a lot of innovation – notably involving digitalisation, data-sharing and collaboration – to be getting on with. And that all seems to make sense. In theory, at least!

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Take A Peek,

Featured in this issue

  • Gearing up for the future

    The biggest issue driving the renewal of Lufthansa Cargo’s Frankfurt freight hub is the need to modernise and develop new ways of handling and processing cargo fit for the digital age, CEO and execu...

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  • Handling premium

    Airlines’ ever-increasing focus on temperature-sensitive cargo has been forcing handling agents to put more resources into this segment – even if they are sometimes unable to charge carriers any e...

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  • Markets in motion

    Trade wars, shifting manufacturing production and rapid economic development are all playing a major role in reshaping Asia’s air cargo business, reports Donald Urquhart The US-China trade disput...

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  • Changing mindsets

    Established practices and concerns over how data will be used are delaying meaningful progress in data sharing. But customer demand, improving technology, and potential outside intervention mean this ...

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  • Global Pharma Tracker programme launches

    Air freight data-sharing and visibility initiative completes a successful proof of concept and pilot phase in a collaboration between tech specialist Nallian and Pharma.Aero, reports Will Waters Da...

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  • An era of unilateralism

    IATA’s downgraded 2% growth forecast reflects a shift away from global multilateralism, explains chief economist Brian Pearce IATA’s decision to downgrade its 2019 growth forecast from 3.7% to ...

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  • Responding to the e-revolution

    Collaboration is crucial for air cargo to get up to speed on e-commerce, speakers at WCS say Collaboration among members of the air logistics chain is crucial if the air freight sector is to get up...

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  • Danger signs

    IATA’s latest shipper survey highlights a surprising lack of DG awareness among customers in the transport of e-commerce products, reports Donald Urquhart IATA’s latest Shipper Survey turned up...

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  • Unilode wins 2019 Innovation Award

    Bluetooth-based ULD tracking solution promises to improve control, visibility, transparency, accuracy and safety in the air cargo supply chain Unilode Aviation Solutions has won the IATA Air Cargo ...

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  • Cargo iQ unveils new solution for SME forwarders

    Portal promises to provide ‘vastly improved planning and control’ for air freight shipments to small and medium-sized freight agents Air freight quality body Cargo iQ has successfully trialled ...

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  • Picking up the pace

    IATA Cargo Committee calls for faster adoption of industry projects, reports Donald Urquhart The 13th IATA World Cargo Symposium in Singapore concluded after three intensive days of conference disc...

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  • Rising to the challenge

    Air cargo is at its most innovative point in history, says IATA’s Glyn Hughes The air cargo industry is “at its most innovative that it’s ever been at any point in its history,” was the upb...

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  • IATA launches CEIV Fresh

    Perishables transport quality certification initiative builds on PCR regulations and success of the association’s CEIV Pharma standard The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launc...

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  • CCA members launch perishables data-sharing trial

    Consignments will be tracked on every stage of a cool chain trade lane to identify inefficiencies and help reduce food loss Cool Chain Association (CCA) members will pilot a data-sharing initiative...

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  • Turkish begins belly freight handling at new Istanbul Airport hub

    Cargo division to use a temporary satellite facility from April, when the remainder of the airline’s passenger flights move from Ataturk Airport, where freighter flights will remain Turkish Carg...

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  • ABC doubles Rickenbacker capacity

    AirBridgeCargo reinforces its position at the US ‘cargo-friendly’ airport with a second weekly B747F flight A year after entering the Columbus, Ohio market, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) is ex...

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