IATA records 5% rise in global air freight demand
IATA have recorded a rise in global air freight demand for January 2013, showing a stabilization of air freight markets on the back of encouraging growth recorded at the end of last year.
Demand for air freight was ‘very strong’ in comparison to the previous year according to a statement by IATA, which recorded a rise of five percent.
Whilst the timing of the Chinese New Year (which occurred in January 2012 however took place in February this year) may have skewed results slightly, the adjusted results show demand growth of around three percent for Asia-Pacific carriers, along with a demand increase of 16.3 percent for Middle Eastern Airlines. North American and European Airlines saw a more modest growth compared to January 2012, growing by 0.6 and 1.2 percent respectively, with African airlines reporting a demand increase of 3.7 percent. Latin American airlines were the only regional grouping to report a fall in demand, with a 1.6% decline on the previous year
“The air freight business is showing some encouraging signs. But it’s too early to be overly optimistic. While the decline has stopped, overall volumes are still below the levels of 2010 and 2011. Load factors are low. And the global economy is fragile. Our forecast remains for modest demand growth of 1.4%. But with weak load factors, yields are going to continue to be under severe downward pressure,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Priorities for 2013
On 12 March the world’s air cargo leaders will gather in Doha, Qatar for the World Cargo Symposium. “The challenge is sustainable business growth. Headwinds presented by the fragile global economic situation are strong. But if governments and all the players of the value chain are aligned, there is much that can be done to improve the competitiveness of the global air cargo industry. Infrastructure, technology, environment, security and industry processes are among the symposium’s topics,” said Tyler.
“Air cargo is important to the global economy and everyday life. By value, nearly a third of goods traded internationally are shipped by air. Jobs and economic opportunities are created by connecting goods to markets. And lives are enriched by the global trade of products and services which is made possible by air connectivity. Supporting the sector’s success is in everybody’s interest,” said Tyler.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.