2022 set to be the year of charter operations for freight forwarders
It seems that 2022 will once again be a year of cargo charter flights for freight forwarders.
James Gagne, president and chief executive of Seko Logistics, outlined a challenging market for freight forwarders in 2022.
He highlighted ongoing issues in ocean shipping, labour shortages due to Covid hitting port/airport operations, ongoing consumer spending for at least the first six to nine months despite inflation, elevated freight rates, rising e-commerce demand, semi conducter demand/shortages and driver shortages as just some of the challenges facing supply chains this year.
For airfreight, belly capacity also appears unlikely to recover to pre-Covid levels this year.
As a result, 2022 will be “the year for air charters”, he said.
“The focus is on doing more on the charter part and we see the need for charter capacity only growing to service our clients,” he said.
Last year the company used 397 charter flights compared with around 72 flights in 2020. This year Seko expects this figure to grow further by around 20-30%.
Other forwarders have also been busy expanding their charter operations in the opening months of the year.
Geodis will expand its AirDirect cargo network in Asia Pacific as it looks to meet “surging demand” in the region.
AirAsia X (AAX) has formed a new air logistics partnership with Geodis to provide the additional cargo capacity.
As part of the partnership, the airline will provide Geodis with “dedicated scheduled cargo flights” on a new weekly rotation from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Shanghai (PVG) and Sydney (SYD) and will also add a second weekly rotation to its existing KUL – Hong Kong (HKG) – Chennai (MAA) – KUL service.
This agreement is set to run for an initial period of six months commencing from January 20 with further extensions to be considered.
All the flight schedules are serviced by aircraft chartered on a long-term basis and will add an extra 320 tonnes of capacity to its charter network each week, Geodis said.
Meanwhile, in mid-January, DB Schenker added charter capacity out of India as it looks to meet capacity constraints.
The forwarder offers charter capacity on a weekly flight operating on the route: Bengaluru-Doha-Munich-Chicago. The new route is being operated by Qatar Airways Cargo utilising one of its B777 freighters.
The flight is in addition to its existing charter operation covering Mumbai, Frankfurt and Atlanta.
Both flights connect three continents as part of the forwarder’s Global Flight Operations Network.
The company told Air Cargo News that the new route would cover a wide range of verticals such as automotive, consumer and retail, electronics, industrial and chemicals, healthcare and aerospace.
Also, DSV has responded to Covid restrictions and lockdowns in Asia by adding extra freighter capacity from Hong Kong and Singapore.
The freight forwarder is adding two extra weekly flights – offering 100 tonnes of capacity each – to its Hong Kong-Liege-Hong Kong loop, bringing its weekly flights on the route to three.
Meanwhile, the company has also introduced a new weekly route from Singapore to Los Angeles.
DSV vice president and head of the DSV Air Charter Network, Mads Ravn, said: “Right now, the market is greatly underserved – especially out of Asia where the situation is being impacted these days by increased Covid incidents and by new restrictions. We are monitoring the situation closely, so we can continue to do what we can to keep our customers supply chains flowing.
“We are also introducing a new DSV Air Charter route from Singapore to Los Angeles (LAX), which can further relieve the pressure on some of the other hubs in the region and also bring a little more flexibility to our customers on our airfreight offerings out of Asia.”
The announcement from DSV came shortly after Cathay Pacific made “substantial reductions” in its long-haul freighter network for the first quarter, with no flights operating to Europe and just seven per week to the Americas.