Bullish air cargo growth continues unabated

Despite geopolitical uncertainties, from rising trade tensions to higher oil prices, the global air cargo market is projected to grow by a hefty 4.2 per cent every year until 2037.

That is according to Boeing’s latest industry forecast, which was shared by the company’s Vice President Marketing Randy Tinseth during last week’s Farnborough Airshow in the event’s Cargo Village.

Much of the cargo growth will take place in China, driven mainly by rising demand in the ecommerce market, benefitting express package carriers such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. Amazon had also experience 30 per cent growth in the last decade.

“Only a few years ago China’s ecommerce market was half the size of the USA, but now it is twice the size,” said Tinseth.

The report also suggested that the near-decade long boom in aircraft sales shows no signs of abating any time soon, with production lines already booked up for several years.

TIACA’s Vladimir Zubkov also led a panel at the event exploring the future vision of air cargo, discussing a range of key topics ranging from current geopolitical challenges, to the evolving role of players in the supply chain.

Panellists included Jason Breakwell, Vice Chairman from TAPA EMEA, Rob Veltman, VP Cargo Europe for Qatar Airways, and David Lara, Senior Vice President for Global Air Procurement & Network Management, CEVA Logistics.

During the debate, Veltman said the trade barriers that were currently being debated by world leaders were “bad news” for the global economy and added that in the short-term businesses across the spectrum may feel damage as a result.

“But it’s difficult to predict what the outcome will be long-term,” he added.

However, Breakwell and Lara said they believed any effects from new trade barriers would likely only be felt short-term, as the air cargo industry had proven time and time again to be resilient and “resourceful”.

“I think this industry is very resourceful; you had companies in the last year that have had to deal with new trade barriers and dealt with it very well,” said Breakwell.

Panellists also looked at a range of other topics, including digitization, the evolving relationship between airlines and forwarders, and safety and security issues.

Also taking to the stage was Heathrow’s Nick Platts, Head of Cargo, who discussed how the UK could capitalise on air cargo growth through the airport’s recently approved third runway.

“Heathrow is currently running at 99 per cent capacity,” he said.

“With 95 per cent of the global economy just one flight away from the UK, the third runway will double our capacity with new opportunities for business across the UK and create jobs.”