Demand stays strong ahead of cargo’s showcase

Chris Bowden, Head of Global Partnerships

A very happy new year to you, and my very best wishes for health, wealth and success in the year of the dragon!

The market remained robust in February driven by sustained e-commerce demand, with consumers predominantly based in the US and Europe leading that impetus, and tonnages grew across every region. We anticipate a slight downward adjustment because of the Chinese New Year holiday, but that’s a normal macro trend and to be expected with factories in the Chinese Mainland shut for a week.

On the operational side, we experienced some disruption at the end of January caused by the big storms that lashed the west coast of the US. They led to some diversions, weight restrictions and re-routings with some knock-on cancellations, but our teams worked hard to make sure the disruptions associated with the situation recovered as quickly as possible.

These same market and operational events will have affected FedEx, one of our long-standing global partners. FedEx is a great complement to the Cathay Cargo network, and a premium partner because it has such reliable volumes from multiple different markets – but like us, its main trade lane is Hong Kong to North America. That plays well to our network, and enables us to offer special handling solutions that add value for both parties: something that Jeff Euler, FedEx’s Vice President Global Airfreight, believes as well – you can read more about it here. Cathay Cargo is clearly aligned with FedEx for the long term.

Another instance of working with our partners for the long term is sustainability. In air cargo, and aviation generally, emissions reduction and sustainability are only achievable through partnerships across the entire supply chain. It was great, therefore, to welcome two more global forwarding partners, Dimerco Express Group and Yusen Logistics, to Cathay’s Corporate Sustainable Aviation Fuel Programme, joining founder member Kintetsu World Express. Long-term strategic partnerships like these are something that we at Cathay Cargo really value, and we look forward to welcoming more members to the programme, in pursuit of our vision of carbon-neutrality by 2050. Our work in this regard was recognised at the Air Cargo India earlier this month with a STAT Trade Times Award for Excellence in Air Cargo award as Air Cargo Sustainability Leader of the Year.

Another big issue for the air cargo industry is digitalisation, especially for developments that bring greater transparency to all parts of our supply chain. We have been working with Envirotainer to share data from the data-logging devices in its Releye containers, making it available to customers via the Cathay Cargo website. This is another example of putting customer-centricity at the heart of digital design, and making the customer journey as seamless, and visible, as possible.

All these issues will take centre stage at the World Cargo Symposium in Hong Kong next month, along with operations and safety. As host airline, Cathay Cargo will have a major presence and will be contributing to the panels and keynote sessions at this IATA event. We expect to see many of our airline customers, suppliers and partners there. We are excited to both showcase Hong Kong and demonstrate that at Cathay Cargo ‘We Know How’ to adapt with the air cargo market to maintain the city’s premier hub status. We look forward to welcoming you – and showing you what we can do.