Spring 2023

issue 41

One year on from the start of Russia’s barbaric and brutal attack on Ukraine, the global geopolitical and economic landscape has changed significantly, along with aspects of the international air freight landscape. Higher fuel and food prices are now baked in and have broadly stabilised; Russia has been cut off from large parts of the western economic sphere, along with its air freight companies and capacity; and China’s tacit support for Russia looks set to drive a further wedge between China and the US and its allies, just as China comes out of its Covid lockdown slowdown. The recent trend towards nearshoring looks set to be accompanied by a tenancy towards ‘friendshoring’ – trade favouring nations with shared cultural and political values and security interests. That’s likely initially to mean tech-related manufacturing that could have security or military implications, but it may eventually include a much wider range of industries.

Meanwhile, the growth of e-commerce, and its carriage by the air freight sector, looks set to continue, even if at a slower growth rate than seen in the last couple of years. As highlighted in the E-commerce Focus article on page 4, air freight stakeholders have a big opportunity to capture more of this market by developing a ‘hybrid’ delivery solution that sits between those offered by postal and express operators, and some companies are moving to develop these capabilities.

In the first of our regular ‘Inside View’ articles written by freight industry experts, Flexport’s Mathijs Slangen (on page 12) highlights that most logistics managers have now moved out of the crisis management phase triggered by the supply chain disruptions of the last two or three years, and are able to look forward again to more strategic management of their supply chains – with data and technology playing an ever-more key role in managing the associated freight movements.

This edition’s North America Report on page 14 notes that the softening of air freight markets has reduced traffic flows through some specialist cargo airports. But alternative gateways have become an ever-more important part of the options that some major freight forwarders offer their customers, and their role seems set to continue developing.

One of the highlights of this Spring issue is our annual Outlook Report, featuring insights from more than 20 influential stakeholders across the air freight sector. Outlook 2023 includes sections featuring contributions from key associations, airlines, charter brokers, GSSAs, cargo handlers, airports, and tech specialists. We are grateful for their contributions and I hope you enjoy reading them.
CAAS will, from now on, offer opportunities in each issue for intelligent thought leadership and briefing articles written by air freight industry specialists on a variety of themes, so please get in touch with any proposals.

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Featured in this issue

  • View from the shipper’s desk

    With supply chain managers still trying to empty warehouses of goods imported ‘just-in-case’ during 2022, there is currently no pressure to replenish inventories quickly, notes James Hookham, secr...

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  • Taking stock of the value air cargo brings

    Despite mounting challenges, positive developments include e-commerce continuing to grow, China’s lifting of COVID restrictions, and an industry in a better place than it was in 2019 – financially...

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  • Smarter ways of working

    New technologies and innovations promise a pathway through the latest challenges, providing greater efficiencies, helping combat recruitment challenges, and making the sector more resilient, says Hact...

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  • Slowdown impacts specialist cargo airports

    The softening of air freight markets has reduced traffic flows through some alternative gateways, but they are here to stay, reports Ian Putzger The downturn in global freight flows that began in t...

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  • Signs of a soft landing

    Sebastiaan Scholte, CEO of Kales Group, sees some positive indicators that point towards a relatively shallow and short recession that could help ease labour shortages and inflationary pressures It...

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  • Quality, efficiency, and communication enhancements

    Effectively delivering improvements requires investment in better technology and improved training of operators for each individual stakeholder, as well as better communication to eliminate frictional...

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  • Opportunities for air freight industry transformation this year

    Cargo Community Systems being implemented at dozens of airports and ports across the world will drive growth and innovation, connecting the varied stakeholders on a common platform and changing the in...

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  • More competition for every shipment

    Ismail Durmaz, CEO of Global GSA Group, expects a slow start to the year, but is hopeful that the second half will see recovery Market expectations It’s going to be a difficult year, and the ent...

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  • From crisis management to supply chain management

    Data and technology will be key to overcoming the supply chain challenges of 2023 and meeting customers’ evolving expectations, says Flexport’s Mathijs Slangen, as most logistics managers move out...

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  • E-commerce reversals and capacity cutbacks

    A vital engine for recent air freight growth and airport development has stalled in recent months, although it may be more a correction due to overambitious or premature expansion triggered at the hei...

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  • Creative solutions to workforce and other challenges

    Emerging technologies will play an essential role in addressing labour shortages currently affecting air cargo handlers, with investments in technology increasing productivity and also helping attract...

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  • Creating a digitalisation snowball effect

    The tide is turning in the digital transformation of air cargo, with many major players launchin What are your expectations about how technology in the air cargo industry will develop in 2023? Bas...

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  • Continuing the momentum in 2023

    Further elevating performance levels this year means finding ways to better leverage technology, using the agile approach developed in the pandemic to build new solutions for customers, and introducin...

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  • Confident of a peak in the last quarter

    The arrival of more capacity in 2023, including the airline group’s own B767Fs, means Challenge Group is expecting lower yields this year. But commercial vice-president Or ZAK remains confident yiel...

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  • Collaborating to compete

    Technology can help air freight stakeholders develop e-commerce products to meet the huge opportunity for a ‘hybrid’ delivery solution that sits between those offered by postal and express operato...

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  • Charter market faces evolving capacity challenges

    Following the capacity challenges of the pandemic period, air charter brokers had hoped that supply and demand would return to a better balance. But the market has faced further capacity and demand ch...

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  • Changes: Near-shoring and new regulations

    Several shifts are affecting the e-commerce logistics space. For example. Hueske says: “Some large fashion brands are opening production and warehousing facilities in Turkey, shortening their distan...

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  • Changes are opening opportunities for GSSAs

    By ECS Group’s Adrien Thominet, executive chairman, and Robert van de Weg, chief commercial officer With global economic growth expected to fall significantly and while inflation is tapering off ...

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  • Building resilience in air freight forwarding

    Key issues in 2023 will include capacity and infrastructure to handle growing demand for e-commerce, keeping professionals’ skills up to date, and conformity with new safety and security regulations...

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  • Bringing air freight together

    The challenge of attracting, retaining and developing an inclusive and diverse workforce will continue, requiring innovation in recruitment and training – and presenting the industry’s value propo...

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  • Bridging air freight’s technology gaps

    The number of air freight transactions performed online remains relatively small, and many airlines and forwarders still lack the technical capability to move operations fully online, requiring tools ...

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  • Approaching 2023 with optimism

    The events of the last few years have taught us that life can be unpredictable. Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport expects 2023 will remain challenging, but will work with air freight stakeholders to ...

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  • An air cargo community and world in transition

    From new customs regulations to the quick and easy implementation o Air cargo is a resilient industry. Despite the challenges we have faced in the last few years, it has proved itself to be diverse...

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  • Advancing on the ‘Destination Digital’ journey

    Initiatives this year at IAG Cargo include a series of process changes to better utilise capacity, through more robust weight and dimensional measurements, highlights John Cheetham, chief operating of...

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  • Adapting to the ups and down of the market

    Chapman Freeborn sees itself as a niche player in the global air freight market that has diversified its business to smooth the regular ups and down of the market, says Reto Hunziker, president of the...

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  • Achieving more in a challenging market

    While the overall market outlook for 2023 remains uncertain, Swissport will continue to focus on driving process optimisation and digitalisation, says global cargo chair Dirk Goovaerts After a dyna...

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  • A new perspective in the air cargo value chain

    Disruptive technologies like machine learning, AI, IoT, robotics automation, and advance analytics are changing how air cargo works and will help businesses make informed decisions – while also incr...

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  • A more favourable environment for shippers in 2023

    Despite adjusting volumes, demand for air freight services remains strong among Airforwarders Association members, says AfA executive director Brandon Fried – who expects an uptick after the first h...

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  • A dynamic approach to challenges

    The past few years have demonstrated that cooperation and partnerships deliver greater results than the sum of their parts, even in the most challenging conditions, says Martin Drew, senior vice presi...

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  • A ‘challenger brand’ entering the freighter business

    Launching its first all-cargo operations this year, WestJet Cargo executive vice-president Kirsten de Bruijn says the key to success will be preparedness What are your expectations about how the ma...

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