Air cargo markets were slow to progress in the first half of 2013, the International Air Transport Association has reported, and though improvement came in the second half, the industry is forced to face the facts of “changing” industry dynamics.
“2013 was a tough year for cargo,” stated Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and chief executive officer. “While we saw some improvement in demand from the second half of the year, we can still expect that 2014 will be a challenging year. World trade continues to expand more rapidly than demand for air cargo. Trade itself is suffering from increasing protectionist measures by governments. And the relative good fortunes of passenger markets compared to cargo make it difficult for airlines to match capacity to demand.”
Regional performance in the air cargo industry varied for the year, with Middle Eastern and Latin American carriers having the strongest growth in demand. Asia-Pacific carriers, however, saw cargo activities decline 1 percent last year.
IATA reports that total global cargo activity saw a 1.8-percent, year-over-year, increase in December. Additionally, capacity grew by 3.6 percent.
European airlines saw a 2.9-percent growth in cargo in December and 1.8-percent growth for the entire year, while North American carriers’ air freight volumes fell by 0.4 percent for all of 2013.
“Indicators of business activity in North America have shown some improvement in recent months, but remain below the levels seen at the start of 2013,” IATA stated in a news release.
Tyler stated that though dynamics are shifting, customers still need speed, quality, reliability and efficiency. “And we need to get better at delivering it through improved technology and modern processes,” he added. “This will be a year of change for air cargo. A key measure of success will be in passing the tipping point on e-air waybill implementation. That will lay the foundation for further improvements for a modern paperless air cargo industry that can only be achieved by aligning all stakeholders — including governments — in a common vision."