ULD & PERISHABLES SUPPLEMENT~ Perishables fast becoming big business

Perishables, once considered a seasonal, low-rate, fi ll-up commodity by most airlines now constitute nearly 15 per cent of total worldwide air cargoes, of which as much as 80 per cent are classical perishables like flowers, fruit, seafood, fish or meat.

According to Lufthansa Consulting, for some countries in Southern America and Africa ¨C like Sudan, for example ¨C more than 80 per cent of their total exports consist of fruit orflowers.

Other countries would like to become more engaged in the production of perishable products for export but for now lack adequate, competitively priced air cargo uplift capacities. However, the trend towards such production is, nonetheless, growing.

Market trends
Ram Menen, Emirates SkyCargo divisional senior vice president cargo, says the perishables market is growing for Emirates, as well as industry wide. "Th is is in keeping with the increasing demand worldwide for fresh foods all through the year," he says.

"Whereas previously most fruits and vegetables were seasonal, today you can buy strawberries, for example, from your supermarket all year round."Th ere is also a fast growing pharmaceuticals market segment of the perishables sector, he adds.

But it’s not all coming up roses, as Niek van der Weide, executive vice president commercial of Cargo B Airlines says that while there is still a modest increase in perishable traffic on some routes from South America and Africa, sea freight is becoming a serious competitor, even for flowers.