115 years. That is exactly how long ago the first flight in history took place. During those 12 seconds aloft, could the Wright brothers have expected that – in a little more than a century – the plane would have become one of the most important means of transporting people and goods?
European and global cargo volumes are growing
The aviation market is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. As reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global cargo traffic in the first half of 2017 increased by 10.4%, the most dramatic shift in the last seven years. According to the IATA, two thirds of the positive results were driven by carriers in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, who transported 6.1% more goods than in 2016.
The strength of the air transport sector is largely thanks to the improving global economy. Demand for transport services is growing at a faster pace than any point since the global financial crisis.
Rates are rising
Karol Barańczuk, Deputy COO for Partial Loads and the company’s air freight management team leader at international transport and logistics provider AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG, points out that since June last year there have been capacity shortages in airplanes operating from Western, Central, and Eastern Europe to the USA, Canada, and South America. He also emphasized that over the same period rates have been up, rising until November 2017 and having stabilized there.
"It is worth noting that rates have remained at current levels for some time – and not just in the opinions of shippers. Many General Sales Agents (GSAs) and airlines operating in Europe have suggested the same. Freight rates have increased in some cases by 80-90% depending on the service level. It is worth noting that many customers are opting to pay more for higher-quality services and shorter transit times,” notes Karol Barańczuk. “The exception is Russia. Freight rates from the Russian Federation to the USA, Canada, and South America generally have not increased. What is more, from day to day you can reserve airplane cargo space with a hundred percent guarantee that the goods will be shipped. The import of cargo from the USA to Russia also does not currently involve any problems," concludes the Deputy COO for Partial Loads.
According to AsstrA experts, the improving European economy has led to a stronger exchange rate which stimulates exports.
Low weight, high value
It should be emphasized that airlines are posting good results not only with respect to cargo. Most passenger carrier operations are also in good condition. Ryanair is the market leader in Europe.
The short-haul cargo market is directly related to and dependent on passenger transport, which accounts for about 50% to 80% of overall airline activity, depending on the country.
Intercontinental flights are less of a factor, with the weight of cargo carried on long-haul flights amounting to only 1% of all goods in international trade. However, cargo carried this way is lightweight and expensive – such as electronics or medicines – and constitutes more than one third of the value of all international trade.
On board courier
AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG delivers small loads via on board courier offering, an innovative express logistics solution for transporting certain types of cargo including spare parts, display samples, prototypes, personal items, and important documents. This service enjoys popularity among companies around the world, ranging from individual entrepreneurs to multinational producers and importers.
According to Karol Barańczuk, "Our on board courier service enables the express delivery of small loads to any place in the world. Specially trained AsstrA couriers collect parcels from senders and forward them to recipients literally hand-to-hand. It is worth noting that the weight of cargo carried as part of an express courier delivery can be up to 11 kg and the invoice amount should not exceed 5,000 USD."
Thanks to this service, the customer saves time and costs on customs clearance, which is necessary for other types of transport. The consignee may receive his cargo immediately after the aircraft has landed, an important benefit when it comes to loads with a short expiration date or in the case of tight delivery deadlines.
Karol Barańczuk also points out that the carriage of some classes of goods via an international courier is not allowed. These include cargoes banned on air transport, i.e. dangerous substances belonging to specific hazard classes of DGR, corrosive substances, toxic substances, and explosives. Air transport of such goods can cause damage to the airplane and threaten the lives of passengers.
Aiming to provide high quality services and meet individual customer needs, AsstrA formed the Aerospace Division. It specializes in the transport of components and spare parts for aviation and aerospace companies. Highly qualified AsstrA specialists are well aware of all aspects of this type of transport, as more than half of the projects we implement for the industry are connected with shipping aviation components. Currently, AsstrA is the only company active in the CIS countries which belongs to the Aerospace Logistic Group, an association of international forwarders. Thanks AsstrA’s membership in this network, aerospace customers can be confident that they receive services of the highest level at affordable prices.
Spreading our wings
AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG provides air transport on practically any route. As Karol Barańczuk notes, "The total turnover in 2017 increased by 84% compared to the previous twelve months. It is a good result. Also, the total weight of freight carried in 2017 increased by 61% compared to 2016. Such results are very motivating. We do not intend to rest on our laurels. We are spreading our wings."