More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s far from business as usual in airfreight. Still, many operators have settled into the current volatile market and adapted to the trends that have emerged.
The primary trend that emerged as far back as April 2020 — apart from the lingering lack of capacity in the bellies of passenger aircraft — is the increase in e-commerce and express cargo movements, as people staying home under lockdowns abandoned brick-and-mortar retail for online shopping and a massive initial shift from B2B to B2C retail. The continued growth, with volumes now years ahead of pre-pandemic projections, has led to what express companies and freight forwarders describe as an ongoing peak season with consistently high demand for airfreight.
In the midst of the pandemic upheaval, several recent and upcoming changes to customs procedures in different regions are poised to present even more challenges to companies involved in cross-border e-commerce. In this month’s main feature, “Retail Race: Customs rushes to keep up with cross-border e-commerce,” Air Cargo World caught up with operators who have been preparing to meet new customs requirements affecting cross-border airfreight and e-commerce to learn more about the potential obstacles customs brokers, express operators and freight forwarders are facing — and where preparations may be falling short.
April’s second feature, from contributor Joshua Aelick, examines the digitalization push during the pandemic, a current industry pain point. Digitalization offers major cooperation and standardization benefits for freight forwarders, but some operators struggle to justify the costs involved. As the logistics industry finally catches up with the global trend toward technological integration, however, it increasingly faces a choice between growing through digitalization, being left behind or being targeted for acquisition.
Air Cargo World is glad to also embrace change to succeed in the new business environment. Along with the recent launch of our new online magazine format, we are pleased to announce the addition of a new associate editor, Kelly Stroh, to our team. We hope our readers will keep an eye out for Kelly’s future stories on AirCargoWorld.com.
Editor, Air Cargo World