Better times ahead?
A new year generally brings renewed optimism and hope. Will this hold true for air cargo in 2013? In an industry that has taken it on the chin for few years due to factors including a down global economy and increased fuel costs, positive trends are certainly welcome.
A slowly improving U.S. economy could bode well for the sector. IATA says while the turning point has not been reached, things are moving in a positive direction. The Geneva-based organization projects that cargo volumes will grow by 1.4 percent during 2013.
Let’s look at some hints of a better 2013. Record online sales created record deliveries for FedEx and UPS during the 2012 holiday season. Online sales were up 14 percent over 2011, according to the comScore consultancy. Of course, that’s a temporary spike in business.
Traditional heavy shippers via airfreight are the semiconductor and pharmaceutical sectors. Semiconductor sales, especially, have been a traditional barometer for airfreight. The Semiconductor Industry Association reported that global sales edged up by 2 percent in November. That was even higher in the Americas, which posted its largest year-over-year rise (9.7 percent) since April 2011. The SIA is optimistic that trend will continue.
The pharmaceutical industry has its own set of challenges. The Roland Berger consultancy recently surveyed the industry and found that three of four pharmaceutical companies believe the industry is in a strategic crisis. Growth in the industry will be powered by emerging markets. Roland Berger believes that the BRIC countries will account for nearly 40 percent of the global market by 2016.
Air Cargo World, as it has done for 71 years, will monitor the industry’s latest developments. In our February issue we examine some of the recent progress in the burgeoning E-freight movement. We also take a look at how South America’s pharmaceutical market, particularly in Brazil, will propel development in the logistics sector. And, we focus on Africa’s strong air cargo industry to see if there are prospects for sustained prosperity.
On a personal note, I am excited to be on board as Air Cargo World’s new editor. I come to ACW following a decade as an editor at Site Selection magazine, a venerable economic development publication with nearly 60 years of publishing history. Prior to that, I served in several editorial capacities with Textile World magazine, a manufacturing publication that traces its history to 1868.
Going forward, I welcome input from our readers and I look forward to meeting you at industry events. Always feel free to email me at email@example.com with suggestions or story ideas.
--John McCurry, Editor