Qatar adds Zambia and Zim Rates begin to stabilise as routes reopen

There’s been a gradual increase in airfreight capacity as routes reopen and airlines take to the skies after being grounded for months. According to Stephen Bishop, airfreight director at neutral consolidator CFR Freight, this is good news for the air cargo market which has been under tremendous pressure over the past year as the world reeled under the impact of the global pandemic.

By Liesl Venter, Freight News, 2 July 2021

There’s been a gradual increase in airfreight capacity as routes reopen and airlines take to the skies after being grounded for months. According to Stephen Bishop, airfreight director at neutral consolidator CFR Freight, this is good news for the air cargo market which has been under tremendous pressure over the past year as the world reeled under the impact of the global pandemic. “New routes are giving clients more options in and out of South Africa,” he said. “We are also seeing more stability in pricing, with contract rates once again being offered by several carriers. This helps to give us a competitive advantage in the market and is a very welcome development.” He said high rates were still one of the major challenges for the industry and would remain so for the foreseeable future. Access to capacity was also still problematic, despite the additional f lights coming into South Africa. “There is still a high demand for products from consumers, which is likely to continue to drive the airfreight market forward.” He told Freight News that despite the challenges there had been a definite increase in volumes as some of the global economies were starting to open up more. “The challenges being experienced in the ocean sector are also driving up airfreight volumes. The speed to market that airfreight offers is another critical factor driving volume increases.” Bishop said his overall outlook for the airfreight market was positive with expectations for more growth. “We are very bullish about the second half of the year,” he said. “With additional capacity and a demand for our import and export products, we are excited about what lies ahead and expect to see more growth and a strong end to the year.” Digitisation and integration with customers were two areas on which the company would be focusing in the coming months. “These are still key areas for growth,” said Bishop. “There are several initiatives set to be launched before the end of the year that will help to make our operations and client offerings more efficient.” He said the company, through its network partners the AirCargoGroup, had introduced a sea-air initiative from China into South Africa via the United Arab Emirates. “There are times when capacity becomes constrained in the airfreight market out of China. This is one of the solutions that we have made available, and it is becoming rather popular. Alternatively, as CFR Freight we are running our weekly airfreight consolidation service out of Shanghai and Hong Kong, which has also been steadily growing over the last quarter.”

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