Air Freight Shippers: “Think Transportation Before Manufacturing”
Shippers will have to factor in the lack of large planes during their manufacturing processes, a charter broker warned today.
The loss of the AN-124 market from Volga-Dnepr and Antonov, as well as the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the AN-225, will create “a huge hole”, said Dan Morgan-Evans, global director of the cargo for Air Charter Service. .
“Shippers will have to think about this before producing large loads,” he said. “They knew the Antonovs, so they worked with those specs. Now they’ll have to think about transportation first.
AN-124s have been used extensively over the past two years, for general cargo as well as oversized shipments and their absence “is going to have a pretty big impact on the market, there are very few alternatives”, said he declared.
ACS said it has discussed with European and UK authorities the use of Stage 2 Ilyushins, currently banned for environmental reasons, in the region.
“The UK said ‘no’, but it could be possible for relief movements,” the company said.
Mr Morgan-Evans said Airbus’ Beluga, designed to carry large aircraft parts, was now on the commercial market, but was unsure whether Boeing’s equivalent, the Dreamlifter operated by Atlas Air, was also available.
“The main problem with both, however, is the strength of the ground. The Antonovs can carry very heavy parts and they are self-contained, which makes a huge difference.
The loss of some 17 wide-body aircraft from the AirBridgeCargo (ABC) fleet is not currently a problem, he said, as air cargo is in a traditionally calmer period.
“ABC was a big provider, but this came at a time when rates were starting to come down. We are in what is traditionally low season, March to August. The market is still buoyant, but it’s the respite after the Chinese New Year.
“Fares have dropped all over the world, even on the transpacific, so there are charters available; we don’t see the November and December pinch points. The real outcome will be seen during the peak season – assuming the world doesn’t enter a free-falling recession.
There is, however, a pinch point of capacity.
“In the US domestic market, there is an availability issue. There are a lot of people, there is a high demand for domestic charters, some of which are the automotive industry catching up. »
He added that mid-range aircraft are now “in the ascendancy”, adding: “There is a lot of demand. Any freighter is now worth its weight in gold. There is a rush to convert and return freighters to market. »
He noted that the charter market had been buoyant, in part, over the past year due to congestion and unreliable sea freight schedules. This had prompted shippers and freight forwarders to book longer-term charter contracts with airlines. But ACS is active in that market as well, Morgan-Evans said.
“We get a fair share of longer-term business from freight forwarders and airlines. We have forward bookings through 2023 and beyond – not all of them are booked directly with the airlines.
Humanitarian work is also on the rise; ACS has so far organized 21 Ukrainian relief charter flights.