With several large online shopping dates falling in November, and the December holidays just around the corner, the kick off for the peak e-commerce season is officially underway. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both widely celebrated in the United States, mean sudden and huge added volume for international air freight shippers.
As many traditional stores are putting a bigger focus on their e-commerce efforts, it means that more people are turning to air freight. Because of this, it is no surprise that e-commerce is the fastest-growing air cargo sector.
The current rising demand for air freight, on a global level, is already having an impact on the market this season, as several international shippers have noted increased air cargo rates during the last few weeks. According to JOC, the largest jump was Shanghai-Barcelona, which rose a whopping 45 percent.
Preparations and Meeting Expectations
The flurry of incoming e-commerce shopping requests that will arise in the next week or so mean it is true crunch time for those in the air freight industry, and forwarders are no doubt preparing themselves.
This time of year, all eyes are on forwarders and there is no room for errors as consumers continue to expect consistency and speed with their orders. The real action begins the second that a consumer effortlessly selects the check-out button in their “cart.” Once the process is started, every order must then be consolidated, shipped, and then deconsolidated.
Air freight is obviously the fastest form of transportation, meaning it is heavily relied upon for rush orders. Even if everything goes correctly with the air freight shipping, it is still crucial that last-mile delivery efforts be executed as quickly as possible.
Consolidation is Key
A main reason that international e-commerce shipping is affordable is the tactic of freight consolidation. Without consolidation efforts, transportation costs via air would be far too high, especially in relation to the value of many of the products being purchased during the e-commerce “holidays.”
Freight consolidation, however, does not come without its challenges. With a higher-than-normal volume this time of year, it is important that your team be in constant communication with forwarders to ensure that your shipments, no matter the size, are not lost within larger consolidated shipments.
With the continued rise of e-commerce, especially during the holiday season, the air cargo market has seen profitability every year since 2010. Other sectors of the shipping industry have not been as lucrative, with container shipping reporting only one profitable year in the last seven.
According to JOC, air cargo markets have reported 5.1 percent compound annual growth rates in the last six years and global airlines are on track for a $33.8 billion net profit in 2018.
The air freight industry is constantly changing and sees many fluctuations throughout the year, but continues to be a vital part of many supply chains.
We understand the complexity of air freight shipping and, because of this, we have a dedicated air exports team that is committed to saving clients both time and money. If you’re interested in learning how we can help you with your air freight needs, contact us today.