A brave new world

With a new year unfolding quietly, softly in front of us, it seems the air cargo industry, if not much of the world, is waiting with bated breath for that proverbial light at the end of the gloomy economic tunnel.


A brave new world


With a new year unfolding quietly, softly in front of us, it seems the air cargo industry, if not much of the world, is waiting with bated breath for that proverbial light at the end of the gloomy economic tunnel. While most industry players are wisely reluctant to forecast – probably as much out of the fear of spoiling any potential karma, as just plain lacking any visibility – there are glimmers of optimism out there. But despite these ‘green shoots’ – whether real or simply wishful thinking – one thing is as clear as a mountain stream: The world is not the same place it was a few years ago.

Predictability, seasonality and many long-practiced business paradigms have no place in today’s global economy. Largely gone is the end of the year ‘peak’ season, faintly visible for a short time this past December, but by all rights, gone the way of the dodo bird. Increasingly sophisticated global supply chain strategies – euphemistically referred to by some as the Zaraesque strategy of smaller, more frequent shipments – mean not only less likelihood of seasonal peaks, but perhaps a more entrenched modal shift to sea freight. Even high-tech gadgets like iPads – incorrectly hailed as air cargo’s savior – are now going by sea freight after initial stocking.