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Strong Infrastructure for Success and Balance

We most often write about air cargo’s greatest challenge is to balance supply and demand but there is a third component in this equation equally as important, namely infrastructure and capability. If the demand is there for temperature sensitive or valuable or any form of specialized cargo yet no corresponding infrastructure is in place then the cargo has to move by alternative means. So we need ground infrastructure to lead the cycle in readiness for demand to materialize in order for supply to be procured and successful transport can ensue.

This was most evident during the Covid crisis when the first vaccines were ready for distribution with key criteria being cool chain facilities at points of origin and destination and sadly numerous pre-distribution assessments ruled out most African destinations as too few adequate facilities existed.

So to address the third component of shipment success there needs to be market assessment to determine planned imports and exports, then the establishment of an investment program to introduce matching facilities and infrastructure, coupled with an innovative approach to solution design including the introduction of advanced automation and robotics to enable efficient and optimized facility utilization. This is also critical in order to de-risk against lack of manpower if manual processes are relied upon.

Infrastructure success also needs to balance current volumes of demand as well as future planned growth, together with simplified airport access, adequate on and off ramp space and of course the right level of skilled staff to manage. Overall, supply chains are only as strong as their weakest link, so state of the art infrastructure and facilities are crucial for industry growth and future success.