Seabury-IATA: Modal shift affecting air freight annual growth

Modal shift to ocean freight has cost the air cargo sector almost 2 percentage points of annual growth since 2000 and is set to go on.


IATA Seabury Cargo Advisory


The research highlighted that air freight’s share of total global containerised or unitized cargo transported declined from 3.1 per cent in 2000 to 1.7 per cent in 2013, with around one third of this market share loss being due to ‘modal shift’ – in which a product that used to be shipped by air is now shipped instead by sea or surface transport. ‘Commodity mix’ factors and ‘value effects’ were the other main causes, the study identified.

Gert-Jan Jansen, Head of Seabury Cargo Advisory mentioned that the air freight sector needs to find appropriate responses to the main development areas highlighted if it wishes to minimise or reverse its market share losses. 

“While shippers would like to focus attention on air freight rates, there are other aspects at play,” said Jansen. “Forwarders require improvements in terms of fuel efficiency, reliability and use of e-communication, while respondents also highlighted the importance of reduced door-to-door transit times.”