GSF urges air cargo sector to demonstrate greater value

Speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium in Berlin recently, the Secretary General of the Global Shippers' Forum (GSF), Chris Welsh MBE, informed delegates that the air cargo industry needs to prove its worth as a premium service.

Adding to the debate on the topic ‘The Value of Air Cargo’, Mr Welsh said: “Against the backdrop of weak growth in international trade, shippers are looking for even greater value from the air cargo industry.  While the industry enjoys traditional benefits of speed over other modes, it needs to ensure that it is worth the premium service cost versus ocean, road and rail.”

GSF identifies that air cargo is vital to the functioning of a modern globalised economy.  Globally, air cargo represents more than 35 per cent of international trade by value, equivalent to approximately US$6 trillion worth of cargo shipped each year.

Despite this, according to IATA, the air cargo industry has lost its dominance and experienced lower yields in recent years.

Mr Welsh explained: "The air cargo product needs to be quicker and slicker in providing end-to-end services.  Shippers are calling for door-to-door shipment time to be cut by a half.  That means acceleration and implementation of e-commerce and enhanced communications in providing real-time track and trace systems. Customers need to know where their freight is at any point in time.

"The announcement by Amazon that it plans to save over US$1 billion annually in its air freight bill by starting its ‘own account’ air freight operations is a wake-up call for the air cargo market that it needs to speed up and demonstrate that air cargo is a premium service by adding real value to customers.  It is a clear indication that the air cargo industry must be more innovative and customer-focused.

"The GSF is committed to working with its industry partners to ensure that the industry has a better understanding of customer needs so that it can provide enhanced value to shippers.”