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Smart help wanted, say airfreight firms

[ October 12, 2012   //   ]

Air freight companies will need to offer “better and smarter” logistics solutions to recover shipment volumes, according to a panel at the International Air Cargo Forum in Atlanta, Georgia in early October. 

CEOs from Delta Air Lines, UPS, CEVA Logistics, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Coca-Cola Refreshments addressed key issues affecting the air cargo market at TIACA-organised event.
A panel at a session moderated by CNN chief business correspondent for CNN, Ali Velshi, predicted a sluggish economy for some time, but said there were pockets of growth for the air cargo industry.
“The global economy is not moving as fast as I’d like,” said Mitch Nichols, President of UPS Airlines. “When things slow down people don’t want things so fast. But our deferred product is growing and we are still shipping goods.” John Pattullo, outgoing CEO of CEVA Logistics, added that he didn’t expect to see growth for the next three to four years. “I think we will have a sluggish economy and we will be battling for share in a sluggish but stable economy.”
Brian Kelley, Chief Product Supply Officer for Coca-Cola, noted: “I think the volatility will continue, and we will continue to deal with customers who are cautious.” He added that companies needed to ride it out by being “better and smarter”.
However, new consumers in new markets, a shift to a metropolitan population around the world, and growth in developing countries would help boost the industry, the panel said.
The panel agreed that the industry-wide adoption of e-freight would boost the industry, and denied that costs would be pushed onto an unwilling freight forwarding sector.
“We went from a paper-intensive to data-driven system because that’s what we needed to do to become more efficient,” said Mitch Nichols of UPS Airlines. “If I can absorb that cost by becoming more efficient, the forwarder will be able to see that opportunity as well.”

 

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