GHI Conference: E-commerce delivers for air cargo

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Cargo has been the saviour of aviation since the pandemic struck, so it was the star of the show at the GHI Annual Conference in Copenhagen from 13-15 September.

E-commerce continues to boom, so it was a major discussion point on a panel comprising Henrik Ambak, SVP Cargo Operations Worldwide for Emirates SkyCargo, Celine Hourcade, Managing Director of Change Horizon, and Franck Mathout, Country Manager France and Regional E-Commerce Manager Europe for AirBridgeCargo Airlines.

Mathout shared some impressive numbers, including that e-commerce is expected to represent 20% of global air cargo in 2022, up from 10% in 2017, and Amazon’s aircraft fleet will keep growing, from 80 by the end of this year to 200 by around 2027.

Integrators are also investing heavily, so air cargo will have to do something if it is not to get left behind.

Ambak had a question; who, when we say aviation, are we talking about? The growth is here to stay as consumers expect, demand quick (and free) delivery of pretty much any item, something shops cannot do.

He also had a second question, asking the audience: “We like to move it, but is e-commerce just mail and courier, or is it a whole new business? We move a lot of e-commerce for postal authorities and integrators but is it something that the airlines should take on?”

Airlines faced similar pressures in the 90s with the rise of integrators, when the press was predicting that if airlines and forwarders do not become integrators within ten years, they would die. “But I’m still standing here,” Ambak added.

Fancy reading more? A full review of the conference will be published in the October issue of Ground Handling International.

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