We at Air Cargo World, have chosen the top five airfreight trends we expect we will hear about the most in 2019. On the following pages, check out the roundup of some of the top trends we predict. Did we miss some? Let us know!
#5: Cross-border e-commerce boom continues
Airfreight hubs are becoming increasingly important to e-commerce growth, as e-commerce giants, integrators and carriers are building up their package sorting and automation capabilities, along with extending networks in the hopes to capture a larger portion of the growing demand. We expect those trends to continue and accelerate in 2019.
#4: The rise of Southeast Asia
“This will definitely reduce our original cargo export to China, even though it may increase some transfer cargo traffic in Taiwan from ASEAN,” said Jimmy Liu, senior manager of cargo operations at TPE.
Executives from logistics companies, including APEX Logistics and SEKO Logistics, agree that Southeast Asia is a rising hotspot, but warn the industry to approach with caution, saying that they are concerned about the bandwidth the region can provide for freighter operations if the countries do not sufficiently develop their infrastructure and policies.
#3: Cool-chain tech advances support burgeoning pharma demand
Industry participants are making necessary strides forward in cool-chain technology to keep pace with the fast-growing market demand for pharmaceuticals. The new innovations in cool chain-tech developed in 2018 will likely be put to use in the new year as operators increase their investments in storage, certification and cooperation.
By 2020, IATA predicts biopharma cold-chain logistics spending will increase by 8 to 9 percent, and that biopharma sales will increase by 4 to 5 percent. Europe and North America maintain the top biopharma market share at 60 percent, although cold-chain logistics spending is expected to grow fastest in Asia and North America. Rising demand is expected in the coming year from Asia, due to the region’s expanding middle class in developing countries and aging population in developed countries.
#2: Continued market uncertainty
As the March 29, 2019, deadline for Brexit draws near, no clear guidance or clues have been given as to how rules and regulations will play out. Aviation industry organizations are fiercely advocating for the United Kingdom and the European Union to hammer out an agreement. In the meantime, logistics companies warned carriers to prepare for potentially higher costs and process complexity, which may exacerbate already-existing strains on trade flows or have ripple effects throughout the greater European region. Some logistics companies have booked standby aircraft or are forward-stocking goods to mitigate against losses should negotiations result in a “no deal” outcome.
#1: Increased automation and digitalization
Various airlines have begun to cut out traditional paper-based systems by implementing use of digital processes, including digital devices that measure ULDs, apps for dangerous goods declarations and online platforms for booking and tracking shipments in real-time. Forwarders, integrators and airports are also investing in technology. Increasingly, airports require ground handlers and providers to reserve slots via digital platform, thus increasing efficiency and lowering costs and carbon footprints through visibility and data-sharing.
Either way, in the coming year, we expect to see more digital cooperation between various logistics chain partners, some through private agreements, and perhaps more as part of air cargo communities.