Well here we go again… high tech gadget launches by Apple, Samsung, Sony and others are once again bringing momentary cheer to the air cargo sector. With so much excess capacity in the market, picking up some of this gadget cargo translates into welcome relief for many carriers. But as the carriers themselves know all too well, this bonanza is nothing but a temporary blip on the radar and indeed a blip that is getting ever shorter with each passing year.
More efficient supply chain planning and crucially, that old ocean freight bogeyman that has become vastly more efficient in recent years, continues to erode volumes. Even the sacrosanct iPhones and iPads now transition out of air freight to slower but vastly cheaper ocean freight once the initial surge of demand has been satiated after a few months, if even that long.
But as it has so often been highlighted, the industry simply cannot and should not rely on this single commodity to fill its aircraft and boost its earnings. And while high tech goods remain an important airfreight commodity at least for the short, to medium term, a great many freight forwarders and carriers are working towards a portfolio of customers that represent a wider range of industries. This includes a push by a number of carriers into high-value goods, perishables and pharmaceuticals – all helping to both diversify the business and bring in higher yield cargo.