The Current State of Air Freight

Sep 16, 2021Air Exports, Blog

Clogged ports, closed terminals, delayed shipments, and capacity-related challenges run rampant in sea and ground transport. These inconveniences have pushed many to turn to the skies instead.

Unfortunately, this recent shift to increased air freight has presented its own set of challenges, with incredibly limited capacity over the last 18 months or so.

Our team took a closer look into the current state of air freight and what it means for the logistics industry as a whole. 

Pandemic Impact 

Supply chain disruptions and closures due to covid regulations are causing manufacturing delivery delays, resulting in missed deadlines and longer shipping times. Many manufacturers and suppliers are turning to air transport to help recover time lost in production delays.

The air cargo sector is extremely active, with an increase of about 9% year-to-date in relation to the pre-crisis levels of February 2019. Air cargo volumes are up and making it difficult to find sufficient capacity in the face of robust demand from every direction.

Closures due to outbreaks—like the one at the end of August in Shanghai, China’s largest freight terminal—have caused costs to skyrocket even further. Industry experts report that air freight prices have risen sharply, by up to 30 percent.

Cascading Delays

Ocean delays have created unsurpassed consumer demand. Many shippers who don’t have the time or patience to wait at current ports turn to air freight to ship cargo faster. This influx in air freight is creating incredible demand at all major U.S. gateway airports.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) faces higher freighter arrivals by the hour, with long wait times to tend and unload the cargo. Previously lesser-used airports like Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Chicago Rockford International Airport, and Pittsburgh International Airport, which were not considered mainline facilities in the past, are now booming freighter airports.

These rapid changes are all an effort to meet the demand of the eCommerce, manufacturing, and automotive industries, especially as the holiday rush sets in for retailers. With these heavy hitters competing for air freight capacity, there are no signs of demand slowing down anytime soon.

TOC Logistics has relationships with over 1,000 shipping partners around the globe to ensure your cargo gets to its destination quickly and efficiently. When the industry is saturated with demand and freight, relationships like these can be the difference between a shipment leaving on time or weeks in the future.

TOC Logistics is here to help your organization respond to the ever-changing landscape—whether it be by land, ocean or air freight.

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