Glyn Hughes: Steady growth in 2020

2019 has been a challenging year for the global air cargo. We have experienced a substantial contraction due to a general slowdown in international trade. Thankfully, this contraction signifies a pent-up demand, and that is why we anticipate a return to growth in 2020, especially in the e-commerce and special cargo section.

A modal shift is taking place because of consumers’ e-commerce delivery expectations. Air cargo is the chief component in this process, so this signifies a positive trend for the sector. We also anticipate an ongoing increased demand in the air transportation of pharmaceuticals, live animals and perishables. The transfer of fresh food from places such as South America and Africa is on the rise. Major growth has also been experienced in the pharmaceutical transport sector. Western medicine, rather than traditional herbal medicine, is gaining ground in Asia, and India is now one of the largest producers of pharmaceuticals in the world. our industry has invested and specialised in the transportation of this particular commodity. Take vaccines, for example, that need to be kept at a certain temperature from the point of production right through to the point of distribution; these precious and sensitive products often come equipped with specialised sensors to monitor their condition throughout the journey.

IATA is also looking ahead to the upcoming US election year and is expecting a trade deal to be signed between the US and China. If these two big players bury the hatchet, consumer confidence will be raised and that will have a positive effect on global trade.

Another positive aspect is the investment by the air cargo sector in technology. We are happy to see many pockets of innovation around the globe, with integrated data being the main focus. That means that we can work collectively as supplychain communities. Innovative supply chains have grown into highly integrated local communities, and global standards such as ONE record will ensure that each of these local communities can interact with one another and communicate faster and more effectively.

In the next twenty years we expect air cargo to double, and infrastructure will play an enormous role. Optimisation has now become key in many airports around the world. In certain zones, located mainly in the Middle East and Asia, this upgrading of infrastructure has been anticipated, but in North America and Europe space is limited, so optimisation is vital. That means that we anticipate an investment in automation and in robotisation so that these airports can work faster and smarter within the available area.

All in all, we’re expecting 2020 to be a good year for air cargo. Please enjoy this new edition of

Glyn Hughes
Global head of Cargo, IATA

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With kind regards

Team Cargo Magazine

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