Chances and challenges for the airfreight industry
E-commerce giants are gearing up
And there’s no doubt that the logistics sector is being driven forward with a dazzling display of innovations by Amazon in the west and Alibaba in the east: With the launch of Prime Air and some very promising deals with the Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and Atlas Air, Amazon is simultaneously improving both its market position and its logistical performance: ATSG and Atlas Air have twenty B767 cargo airplanes each on standby for the e-commerce giant.
Amazon is also dead-set on the idea of having drones carry out last-mile package deliveries. The company has now patented a technology for mobile drone stations that will serve as warehouses and service points for charging, repairing and replacing drone batteries.
IATA recognizes the need for action
E-commerce and omnichannel trade also offer airlines enormous opportunities, but they require old structures to be abandoned and new answers to be found to meet the needs of all stakeholders along the value chain.
In a strategy paper published in July 2017, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) stresses the need for a paradigm shift in the airfreight sector in order to benefit from the changed market environment – for instance, with fast and punctual delivery across all national borders and end-to-end track & trace technologies.
China’s best-selling e-commerce provider, JD.com, has signed a strategic partnership with China Eastern Airlines to optimize the efficiency of its logistics services, both domestically and internationally. Both companies share resources at their stations and combine their respective airfreight logistics networks.
End customers are considered too: CHAMP Cargosystems enables consumers to follow up on their order status using simple voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa service. The system integrates CHAMP’s TRAXON Track & Trace service, to which many airlines are already connected, including Lufthansa Cargo, American Airlines Cargo and Cathay Pacific Cargo.
Photos: Rbarta24 (Wikimedia Commons), Amazon, Paul Ridderhof