Tag Archives: eCommerce

How global warming could impact air cargo flights

We’re all too aware of the many disastrous implications of global climate change – from the impact on coastal communities of rising sea levels through to the dangers of increasingly unpredictable seasons on agricultural cycles. But what about our own industry? A recent report in Climatic Change suggests that the implications could be serious for air transportation, and are well worth considering as the effects of climate change become more evident.


Serious impact

The report points to the way in which steadily rising temperatures will have an effect on the density of the air in the atmosphere. This has a direct impact on the amount of lift that our planes can generate – with serious consequences in terms of the amount of cargo that the aircraft would be able to carry. In extreme situations it could lead to aircraft being grounded during the hottest periods – with the experts suggesting that up to a third of flights might be prevented from taking off.  If true, the impact of increasing air temperatures would be particularly serious for air cargo operators – especially those who use larger aircraft such as the 777-300. The answer for the air cargo industry could lie in weight restrictions below their maximum take off weight – but the costs could be substantial.


A worrying pattern of evidence

“As air temperatures rise at constant pressure, air density declines, resulting in less lift generation by an aircraft wing at a given airspeed and potentially imposing a weight restriction on departing aircraft,” says the report by Coffel, Thompson and Horton. “Our results suggest that weight restriction may impose a non-trivial cost on airlines and impact aviation operations around the world.”


Ignazio Coraci comments: “This is troubling news for the industry, because it builds on previous research from 2015 – a compelling pattern is emerging that suggests that climate change could have very serious implications for our industry – not just in terms of cost but also in the quality of the service that we can offer our customers. As an industry we must do everything we can to make sure that the impact of climate change on our industry and the customers we serve is kept to a minimum.”

What the industry can learn from BRUcloud, the open community technology platform used at Brussels airport

Could a new app be a taste of the way our industry uses technology in the future?


Brussels airport has already had a great deal of success with its BRUcloud open community platform in recent years – and it seems that freight forwarders at the airport are now embracing the cutting edge data-sharing technology to develop new solutions to old problems.


Industry backing

The Customs Export Application was strongly supported by Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) – who represent the country’s air cargo community – and with the advantages it delivers it’s clear to see why the technology has been given the industry body’s backing. The app matches collected manifest data (both from the freight forwarders themselves and existing data that is available within the BRUcloud system) and then automatically reports complete and accurate information to customs. The new technology saves time on all sides – particularly in terms of the amount of time processing air waybills. Customs have also agreed to clear shipments handled via the app first, providing yet another opportunity to speed up processes for all stakeholders.


A shared approach

A real key to the success of the app has been the collaborative approach taken by all parties – both in terms of the development of the Customs Export Application and its subsequent roll out.


“This collaboratively created app results in a lower administrative burden for all the parties,” says Bart Vleugels, who is advisory general at the Federal Public Service of Finance, Customs and Excise Duties. “Digitization within BRUcargo will further lower the chances of errors and will help to drastically decrease lead times.”


Freight forwarders have certainly bought in to the new technology, with 90 per cent of the air freight passing through BRUcargo now using the app.


Industry best practice

Ignazio Coraci comments: “The industry can learn a huge amount from the great work done at BRUcargo, not just in terms of the technology itself and its application, but also in the collaborative approach taken to its development by everyone involved. This kind of open cooperation between stakeholders is a model for similar projects.”

Hong Kong sees a surge in growth for first half of 2017

It has been a truly impressive start to the year for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), with growth in traffic right across the board. In terms of air cargo business, HKIA has handled an impressive 2.3 million tonnes of cargo already this year in the first six months to June – that’s up a remarkable 11.3% on the same period last year.

Booming exports

So what has been behind HKIA’s great start to the year – and more importantly, do the experts think it will be sustained? Well, in the latest figures from June, 410,000 tonnes of cargo passed through the airport, up 11.4% on 2016 – and there are indications that a 17% year-on-year increase in June exports from the airport led to the high growth in cargo tonnage for that period. That bump in export figures has certainly contributed then to the airport’s positive performance in the first half of 2017, but HKIA has also benefited from an improved global outlook. And with the Asian markets leading the way in air cargo growth, HKIA is in prime position to take advantage of a global economic performance that is looking positive in terms of consumer and business confidence.

Investing for the future

HKIA isn’t standing still, with work starting last August on a third runway to help accommodate future growth. The airport is also making further investments to ensure it meets the needs of customers.

“On the cargo front, HKIA continues to develop its ability to serve fast-growing segments of the high-value cargo business, such as fresh produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that require specialised handling,” says an airport spokesperson. “The airport authority and local industry stakeholders are working closely together to pursue the IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) accreditation on airport community basis and HKIA is expected to be recognised as an IATA CEIV Pharma Partner Airport by the third quarter in 2017.”

A sustainable future

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Clearly Hong Kong is an important site for both our ASC Cargo and SW Italia businesses, and so the news that air freight handling is continuing to grow there is great to hear. I’m also really encouraged by the investment in infrastructure that is being made at HKIA – it will go a long way towards making sure that the performance we’ve seen so far this year is sustained.”

Cross-Border E-Commerce to Grow Rapidly in Next Five Years

The expanding global cross-border e-commerce sector has fuelled the growth of the air cargo industry, as it’s extremely convenient to transport goods by air, due to fast travel times. New figures indicate that cross-border e-commerce will grow rapidly over the next five years, benefitting air cargo carriers.

Opportunities are present

E-commerce opportunities

This information was collated by DHL Express, a German logistics firm, in its latest reportThe 21st Century Spice Trade: A Guide to the cross-border E-Commerce Opportunity. It was based on a poll of 1,800 professionals in the retail and manufacturing industries, across six countries, as well as research and in-depth interviews of experts carried out by a leading worldwide management consultancy.

According to Global Trade Mag, a logistics industry portal, the report’s remit was extensive. It sought to examine the world’s highest growth potential markets and products, as well as the motivations and preferences which inspire consumers to execute global online purchases and the factors which govern the success of digital retailers who hope to expand their operations across borders. The study especially focused on the opportunities available premium products and service offerings worldwide.

High growth potential

DHL Express found that higher basket values comprise a larger proportion of cross-border transaction orders than anything else, by a strong margin. It noted that the aggregate expansion rates afforded by international e-commerce, simply cannot be found in the majority of other retail markets.

The report concluded that between 2015 and 2020, cross-border e-retail volumes are forecast to rise from US$300bn to US$900bn. This signals a 25% annual rate of growth, meaning that this sector is predicted to grow at twice the rate of domestic e-commerce sectors within this period. DHL Express further noted that simply by expanding their offerings to global consumers, digital retailers have already managed to spur their sales upwards by around 10% to 15% over the last year alone.

Changing landscape

The report shed light on the advancing nature of global e-commerce. It noted that both supply and demand are growing more sophisticated, with each passing year. The study discovered that this may be fuelling demand for premium services. For example firms who offered consumers a faster shipping option in their digital stores, grew 1.6 times faster than their peers on average during this time frame.

The report offered additional key insight, into why cross-border e-commerce is set to keep growing, in the period to 2020. Primarily those retailers who provide their products online can cut out the middlemen, appealing directly to consumers and these firms are expected to expand 30% faster than other companies operating in the cross-border retail sector in the next few years. Other contributing factors included the rising availability of attractive online deals and increasing consumer product availability, which are incentivising customers to become more discerning and shop online.

When polling consumers, DHL found that the cross-border e-commerce industry faces a number of key challenges. These primarily relate to logistics, price, trust and consumer experience. Concurrently, there are various measures digital retailers can adopt to identify and cultivate demand from overseas. DHL Express suggested that many retailers can now open up new markets, by adapting their offerings to the digital marketplace, as we’re increasingly operating in a trade eco-system characterised by facilitators and off-the-shelf solutions, such as website check-out localisation programmes.

Forming partnerships

The cross-border e-commerce sector is set to grow exponentially to 2020, due to strengthening consumer trust, allowing more businesses to sell products online. However, many firms still find it difficult to transport their goods easily across borders, so it is key that they partner with global logistics experts going forward. Logistics operators have the infrastructure in place to deliver fast, reliable, flexible delivery, as well as both localised and centralised warehousing and fulfilment. This gives e-commerce traders the ability to provide the first rate service consumers are increasingly demanding.

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