THAILAND: Tough time for Thai airfreight

. Thailand’s airfreight business faces its biggest challenge in 10 years because of high oil prices and politicalun certainties, causing a slowdown in business transactions, according to the Thai Airfreight Forwarders Association (TAFA). Air cargo shipments have dropped by 30 per cent so far this year with a number of frequent customers turning to marine […]


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Thailand’s airfreight business faces its biggest challenge in 10 years because of high oil prices and politicalun certainties, causing a slowdown in business transactions, according to the Thai Airfreight Forwarders Association (TAFA).

Air cargo shipments have dropped by 30 per cent so far this year with a number of frequent customers turning to marine transport which costs three to four times less than air, said TAFA.

Perishable goods, especially vegetables, fruits and flowers, account for as much as 60 per cent of all air cargo shipments from Thailand.

Airfreight rates have risen this year by approximately 10 per cent while airlines’ fuel surcharges have doubled, TAFA chairman Kasem Jaliyawatwong said.

“Exporters of electronic goods to Asian destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong have turned to marine shipments rather than air to lower their cost,” said Kasem. “On some of these routes, the fuel surcharge has become higher than the transport fees.”

Statistics from the Air Cargo Business Association (ACBA) showed 137,747 tonnes of cargo were shipped by air outof Bangkok in the first quarter of this year, up slightly from 134,687 tonnes in the same period of 2007. Inbound volume rose to 82,086 tonnes from74,527 tonnes.

Total outbound and inbound figures in2007 were 534,319 and 307,490 tonnes, respectively, according to the ACBA.

TAFA is hoping that shipment volumes will start picking up in the coming high season starting in October.

“But if not, it is possible that we could see the worst situation in our business for the past ten-year period,” Kasem said.