On January 9, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced in a press release that increased demand for air cargo could mean a brighter future for the air freight industry. Air freight volumes seen a 1.6% increase over the previous year in November, 2012. At the same time, the wait time for Apple’s iPhone 5 finally dropped from a month to 2 to 3 weeks. Are the two related?
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IATA Forecasts Air Cargo Growth in 2013
IATA CEO Tony Tyler said, “November brought some positive signs for air transport demand—particularly for air cargo. It is premature to consider this a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground. But, when coupled with positive economic developments in the US and an improvement in business confidence in recent months, the conditions are aligning to see a return to growth in 2013. In 2013 we expect that cargo volumes will grow 1.4%, and passenger traffic will increase by 4.5% worldwide.” According to the press release, Asia-Pacific air freight carriers accounted for nearly half of the increase in cargo volume.
Will the Upswing Continue?
A Federal Reserve report published in October, 2012 said, “Air cargo companies saw an increase in cargo volume tied to the launch of various smartphones and computer tablets, which favour shipment by air over other modalities.” Along with an increase in volume, air freight carriers also experienced a notable rise in rates. Shipping costs from China to the West rose by 7% in September, 2012 and maintained those figures through the end of the year. China manufactures most smartphones and tablets, as well as many other consumer goods. The IATA cites, “a shift in seasonal shopping to online retailers” as the primary reason for air cargo volume increases in November because online stores “depend heavily on air cargo.”
With the launch of several new devices, including the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, as well as a few Android tablets and phones, it’s hard to say what had the most influence on the air freight industry in the last quarter of 2012. There is a good chance that the trend will continue.[/show_to]