16 ATW | November 2018 | atwonline.com
by the huge rise in e-commerce, which is driving demand
for parcel shipments and shows no signs of slowing.
In 2017, retail ecommerce sales worldwide reached
$2.304 trillion, a 24.8% increase over the previous year,
market research company eMarketer estimates.
Te boom in online shopping is not only fueling air
cargo growth, but also some more profound industry
shifts, with retailers such as Amazon, which operates its
own cargo airline, Amazon Air, shaking up the supply
Tis phenomenon is likely to continue in the com-
ing years. Von Pohl sees the potential for the air freight
industry to become more efcient and competitive as
it invests in ground handling improvements, speeds up
deliveries and is more transparent—all key factors in
keeping up with e-commerce growth.
“For us at DHL, the e-commerce business is an important sector that we expect to continue to grow—and
it’s also a challenge in regards to our infrastructure. As
an industry, Amazon has helped us to recognize the importance of the last mile. Amazon really has shown us
that speed is of the essence,” von Pohl said.
Volga-Dnepr Group VP-sales and marketing Robert
van de Weg agrees. His company owns all-cargo airline
“In 2018, cross-border e-commerce sales have continued their growth throughout the whole world, for
example from Asia, where the middle-class population is becoming more demanding and internet-savvy.
Tis is just the beginning, as e-commerce will embrace
more product categories, the likes of heavy and hard-to-handle, and niche or oversize items such as furniture
and household appliances, rather than concentrating
on ‘traditional’ fashion garments, electronics and high-tech,” he said.
AirBridgeCargo, which operates a feet of Boeing 747
freighters, saw an overall 4% tonnage increase for the
frst eight months of 2018 and boosted volumes on most
of its routes, especially to and from the US, from the US
to Europe and from China to the US, van de Weg said.
Te airline also expects to see strong demand for
transporting fresh produce—mainly fresh fsh and seafood from Europe to Asia—in the coming months.
Industry-wide, as technologies such as digital tracking for cold-chain shipments make headway, van de
Weg sees a greater proportion of fresh produce—
anything from fruits and fowers from Africa to Latin
American berries and Norwegian salmon—traveling
AirBridgeCargo has also been increasing its pharmaceutical transport business rapidly, developing a dedicated service to convey sensitive drugs and other medical products
that need constant monitoring and stable temperatures.
“Te volume of pharmaceuticals and medicine-related products continues to increase as more patients
need the latest medicines, vaccines and other healthcare products,” van de Weg explained. “With medicine
products becoming more sophisticated, manufacturers
set a high level of demands for their transportation. For
“Amazon has helped us
to recognize the importance of
the last mile. Amazon really has
shown us that speed is of the
essence.” Andreas von Pohl, DHL