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Friday, March 31, 2023

Air Cargo Program to Hear from Freight Forwarders as Demand Rises

Freight forwarders are to get a stronger voice in the development of resolutions made by the Cargo Agency Conference (CAC). 

Going forward, there will be consultation with Regional Joint Councils before any future resolutions (or amendments to resolutions) are proposed to and considered by the CAC. The CAC is composed only of airlines. The Regional Joint Councils are composed of local freight forwarder associations affiliated with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), as well as individual freight forwarders and airlines.

“This is a major improvement for all concerned. The Air Cargo Program works to improve the safety, security, and efficiency of cargo distribution. Considering the views of all interested parties at the beginning of the decision-making process is a win-win. The freight forwarders and their associations will have a stronger voice to influence the process. The CAC will be able to make better decisions with broader input to the decision-making process. And once decisions are made, they can be implemented universally with stronger support from all parties,” said Muhammad Albakri, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Senior Vice President for Customer, Financial and Digital Services.

IATA recently announced that air cargo demand has increased by 9% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was up 9% compared to February 2019 and +1.5% compared to January 2021. All regions except for Latin America saw an improvement in air cargo demand compared to pre-COVID levels and North America and Africa were the strongest performers. North American carriers alone posted a 17.4% increase in international demand in February compared to February 2019. The business environment for air cargo in the region remains supportive and the $1,400 stimulus checks to U.S. households will likely drive further growth in e-commerce and the level of inventories remains relatively low compared to sales volumes.

African carriers have seen a massive 44.2% rise in demand compared to the same month in 2019. Robust expansion on the Asia-Africa trade lanes contributed to the strong growth. 

“Air cargo demand is not just recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, it is growing. With demand at 9% above pre-crisis levels (Feb 2019), one of the main challenges for air cargo is finding sufficient capacity. This makes cargo yields a bright spot in an otherwise bleak industry situation. It also highlights the need for clarity on government plans for a safe industry restart. Understanding how passenger demand could recover will indicate how much belly capacity will be available for air cargo. Being able to efficiently plan that into air cargo operations will be a key element for overall recovery,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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