ACMG report chronicles disruptive force of e-commerce in air cargo

The news earlier this spring that online retailer had entered the air cargo business with its own-controlled air network of forty 767 freighters was seen as a shot across the bow of the industry, signaling that the new era of e-commerce had arrived in the air logistics arena. According to a new report being released today by Seattle-based consulting firm Air Cargo Management Group (ACMG), the Amazon deal is only the latest evidence of a long, steady transformation of the global supply chain into a direct-to-consumer model.

The new study, “The E-Commerce Revolution Report: Reshaping the Landscape of Air Logistics,” takes a long view of e-commerce, comparing today’s cutting-edge, online distribution systems to retail operations from the last two centuries, showing how the slow, subtle improvements in the supply chain have led us to today’s high-tech express logistics system.

“E-commerce is a worldwide, yet not quite a routinely cross-border, phenomenon,” the report stated. “Although this report is entitled ‘E-commerce Revolution Report,’ the ‘revolution’ is actually the culmination of years of evolution in logistics and retail that have interacted in complex ways to (nearly) enable global, direct producer-to-consumer commerce. This report is meant to serve as an overview of e-commerce, its current effects on logistics, and possible future developments.”

ACMG – part of the Royal Media Group, which owns Air Cargo World – concentrated mostly on Amazon in the report because of its stature in markets all over the world, but its counterpart, Alibaba, along with its Cainaio platform, are also featured prominently for the Chinese market that it dominates, although it does not have its own controlled air network. There are also a number of other marketplace platforms throughout the world and there are retailers with brands strong enough to support their own electronic storefronts.

The report concludes by exhorting the logistics industry, and air cargo industry participants especially, to pay attention to the changes created by e-commerce and to be flexible and innovative in response.

Some of the important topics discussed in this report are:

  • Developments in transportation, communications, and data processing have been crucial enabling technologies for e-commerce; however, without government infrastructure investment and the relaxation of government regulation, e-commerce could not exist in its current form
  • The world has moved from a largely domestic producer-wholesaler-retailer-consumer logistics system to a global producer-direct-to-consumer system
  • Successful brick-and-mortar retailers will have to adopt omni-channel strategies to leverage their physical presences online
  • Although E-commerce is disrupting retailing and air and surface logistics, there are opportunities for the creative and agile

For more information, and to order copies of the ACMG report, please click here.

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