Air Forwarders look to Asia for new business

“A World of Opportunities: Asia 2011,” is a theme that will drive discussion on strategic penetration of the emerging markets in the Far East

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As the Airforwarders Association annual conference gets underway in San Diego today, the industry continues to focus on the Pacific Rim.

“A World of Opportunities: Asia 2011,” is a theme that will drive discussion on strategic penetration of the emerging markets in the Far East.

But while Asia remains the focus, demand for global air cargo transport in general rebounded sharply in 2010 after a calamitous 18-month decline that began in May 2008. Boeing executives insist that in spite of this downturn, world air cargo traffic will triple over the next 20 years, compared to 2009 levels, averaging 5.9 percent annual growth.

“The number of airplanes in the freighter fleet will increase by more than two-thirds over the same period,” said Thomas Hoang, Boeing’s regional director of cargo marketing in Seattle. “China is the main engine for this growth, but nearly every developed country in Asia will be a factor.”

Boeing analysts note that in 2009, world air cargo traffic declined 11.3 percent after declining 1.8 percent in 2008 and growing 3.3 percent in 2007. The 2008-2009 period marked the first time that air cargo traffic has contracted in two consecutive years. The decline affected nearly every geographic market; however, regions connected to industrial freight flows generally fared worse than regions that are less dependent on these flows. It was the rising price of fuel that diverted air cargo to less expensive road transport and maritime modes beginning in 2005.

Although the tepid rate of world air cargo traffic growth between 2005 and 2008 can be attributed in part to rising fuel prices, the nearly 13 percent drop in cargo traffic during the two years ending in 2009 reflects the steep plunge in industrial activity attendant to the global economic downturn.

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

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