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            january 22, 2020

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Boeing tells OECD transport meet that air freight is making a comeback


While air freight is hardly enjoying a boom, it is back to historic growth rates with an estimated market value of US$10 trillion, said Boeing's chief market analyst James Billing.
"We've been through some rough years, but things are getting better now," Mr Billing told the ministerial meeting of the International Transport Forum (ITF) a division of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
"I think you're seeing air cargo growth above GDP right now, it's always been seen as a leading indicator [of world trade]," he said, reported Auckland's New Zealand Herald from the Leipzig conference.
Air freight accounts for about one per cent of total trade by weight but 35 per cent by value, a session on aviation supply chains at the International Transport Forum heard.
Mr Billing said the "alpha" nature of air cargo was illustrated recently with about 100 tonnes of iPhones, worth about NZ$150 million (US$210 million) at market value, being loaded into a Boeing 777 freighter.
Mr Billing said freighters still play a dominant role and airlines which only have belly capacity represent just 10 per cent of the air cargo business, whereas combination carriers with some freighters have about 40 per cent while the dedicated parcel services have about 38 per cent and then the specialist, the all-air freighter business has the rest.
Between Europe and Asia about 75 per cent of freight is going by freighters, with 80 per cent across the Pacific on freighters.
"Freighters aren't going away and I'd encourage airports when they're upgrading their facilities to factor in the freighters and the need to factor in bellyhold loading at gates where passengers get on," Mr Billing said.
"Freight doesn't walk off the plane like passengers do. It needs to be connected to road or rail to get to its destination."
Air cargo potential gets stronger as countries such as China move up the value chain. Electronics, fresh produce, pharmaceuticals and automobile parts were among the biggest categories of cargo shifted by air, according to Shipping Gazette.

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