Kim Pedersen is the new executive vice president of Geodis Wilson’s global freight forwarding division.
Pedersen joined the company in 1994. In 2009, he was appointed deputy CMO and joined the board of management as global head of sales & marketing. Pedersen gave Air Cargo World his take on trends in the airfreight industry.
Air Cargo World: What is the outlook for the air cargo industry this year?
Kim Pedersen: I expect this year to be similar to 2012 – overall, we will see a rather flat air cargo development, however with a few exceptions on certain trades and related to certain industries. In general, companies will continue to focus on costs and consequently give a preference to ocean freight over airfreight for a significant portion of their cargo volumes. Because of this tendency, many freight forwarders experienced a decline in airfreight volumes, already in 2011. Geodis Wilson is an exception in this regard because against the overall market trend, we experienced an increase in airfreight volumes. On certain lanes, we grew faster than the market, namely on the Asia to Europe routes. One reason for this is our good position as a logistics provider in the high-tech market. It requires a strong time-to-market strategy to be successful in this area.
ACW: What role does Geodis Wilson play in the high-tech and pharmaceuticals industries?
Pedersen: Both high-tech and pharmaceuticals are part of our vertical industry segments program, which encompasses nine main verticals in total. Providing industry-specific logistics services is a key enabler in our global development plan. As far as high-tech is concerned, Geodis Wilson has found a somewhat smarter approach to the market by tackling high-tech supply chains in a similar way than fast-moving consumer goods. If we look at Asia, particularly China, but also the U.S. and some trades into Europe, this is giving us a competitive edge that also drives volumes into our airfreight channels. For pharmaceuticals, our development strategy rather focuses on the Pan-European dimensions. Being part of a larger group, we benefit from our strong footprint in Europe and the investments that were put into warehousing and distribution. So we mainly attract pharma companies that require connections to our European trucking and warehouse network.
ACW: What are the ramifications of the ongoing emissions debate for air cargo?
Pedersen: I would simply put myself into the position of our clients: In general, they would perceive airfreight to be more expensive and more polluting than ocean freight, trucking or rail – and there is a strong drive, particularly in Europe, to avoid such high emission solutions. Nevertheless, most international and global players develop alongside the emerging markets, and airfreight will always play a significant role in the supply to those markets, may it be on the production or on the consumer side.
ACW: What are some of the latest air cargo technology trends you have observed?
Pedersen: Linking to my answer above, I don’t see so much of a technology shift but rather a change in conducting air cargo business. We might see more and more nomad airlines that shift their capacity in a flexible way into trade lanes between the high growth markets such as China to Africa or China to South America, not to forget
ACW: How do you see Geodis Wilson’s air cargo growth in the coming years?
Pedersen: Year over year, we plan for a pretty stable increase around 5 percent. The more we maintain our industry-specific focus, and the more we develop in the runners-up economies like Mexico, Indonesia and maybe some African countries – while increasing our market penetration in the big emerging markets like Brazil, China and India – the higher the growth will be.