Superhot airfreight market leaves shippers in the cold

Date: Wednesday, October 13 2021
Source: Freightwaves

Importers and exporters should brace for the pandemonium roiling the ocean freight sector — where container shipping delays and prices are at all-time highs — to wash over the air cargo market this month.

Full planes and skyrocketing freight rates are signs the market has tightened to the point that shippers will be hard-pressed to find air transport for their goods as holiday-season shipping enters the stretch run, according to market analysts and logistics specialists.

Welcome to the super-peak season.

The main culprit is a capacity deficit caused by the severe reduction in international passenger flights as cargo demand, increasingly converted from ocean bookings to air to avoid port congestion, exceeds pre-COVID levels. COVID outbreaks among pilots and airport staff in Asia have reduced flights, further squeezing logistics companies and their customers.

Destination airports with traditionally strong freighter traffic, such as Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York’s JFK, are so crowded because of workforce shortages that it can take three days to two weeks for terminals to make shipments available for pickup. Many O’Hare facilities are storing pallets in parking lots with temporary fencing because they can’t break down large shipments quickly enough for distribution. And when cargo is available, receiving agents are having difficulty finding trucks because many drivers have not returned to work from early COVID separations.

Demand is expected to surge further in the second half of October because of the holiday orders, the pickup in Chinese factory production after a weeklong break for the Golden Week holiday and continued congestion at transit hubs, including in Europe.

[Read from the original source.]