Spring 2023

An air cargo community and world in transition

David Lindford

From new customs regulations to the quick and easy implementation o

Air cargo is a resilient industry. Despite the challenges we have faced in the last few years, it has proved itself to be diverse and adaptable. According to IATA, airlines around the world are on track to return to profit this year after the heavy impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic – but it also warns profit margins will remain thin. Nevertheless, the industry can turn its eyes to new solutions, innovations, and sustainability efforts to support its growth and competitiveness.

Industry drivers
While IATA forecasts airlines to return to profit in 2023, it also predicts a 4% volume decline due to sluggish economic growth. With this in mind, air cargo stakeholders are more eager than ever to adopt the latest technologies, streamlining their operations and optimising their business processes to stave off a potentially difficult year.

The circumstances also come with rising warehouse automation needs. We are seeing increased demand for real-time data syncing from the warehouse floor through solutions like Cargospot Mobile to better manage these shipment flows for ground handling agents (GHAs) and provide better visibility to their customers. Robotisation within handling has quickly gained pace and will change the face of warehouse operations in the coming years.

An ever-moving process
Innovation is an ever-moving process, something that requires diligence and dedication if you want to keep pace with the market. Artificial Intelligence tools and smart automation technologies have provided new horizons of possibility in air cargo. These may include everything from pricing automation to route planning to data analysis. As these technologies become more commonplace, air cargo must also advance its interests alongside them.

All the while, 2023 brings new regulations that will affect much of our shipment flows around the world, impacting the landscape of trade and transport. Import Control System 2 (ICS2) will be implemented for EU imports in the first half of the year and with rising concerns around fuel efficiency and emissions, sustainability will continue to mean business as usual will no longer suffice. Air cargo is expected to operate better, faster, and more efficiently. With data accuracy rising in importance, digitalisation must reach new heights.

The latest compliance software, such as CHAMP’s Traxon Global Customs and Security, not only streamlines filing operations; the solutions’ automated data verification and workflows enable and improve data quality – leading to data-driven business decisions.

With data accuracy and availability expected to rise further, appetite for more real-time information and visibility will increase too, continuing the transformation to a digitally and data-driven industry. Services like CHAMP’s MarketAnalytics will continue to evolve with the data volume and quality and provide stakeholders with vital resources to make savvy business decisions.
As an example, our air cargo market tracker shows that in December, our industry did not see the usual increase in air cargo volumes – although yields did hold up. And we can see that in February 2023YTD, air cargo volumes are down compared to this time last year. This is the first public industry tracker that is updated daily. It allows you to drill down by origins and destinations, and can show how some trade lanes were up and others down. You can interact with it on champ.aero/MarketAnalytics.

Opportunities in collaboration
With APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), the possibilities for speedy development and implementation of industry-changing innovations are limitless. There is already proof of their adoption in the market, reflected in the 10m API calls that were triggered within a single month in 2022. More importantly, with new players constantly innovating, and a dedicated channel to push them (CHAMP API Partner Portal), 2023 will bring even more functionalities and value to everyone across the supply chain.

New governmental and regional partnerships will mean greater transparency for tracking – not just cargo, but also revenue streams throughout the world. Having just contracted with Shanghai Government to assist in automating the tracking of revenue and shipping flows, industries outside air cargo will start to benefit from CHAMP’s well-established tracking solutions that will bring new transparency, security, and efficiencies in global trade. More organisations may find it beneficial to pursue such technologies in tracking their operations and auditing revenue streams.

When we look into the future of our industry, we do so with the knowledge that it will be challenging yet open to tremendous possibility. From new customs regulations to the quick and easy implementation of APIs and similar technologies, the digital landscape of air cargo can rapidly change.

So, we enter 2023 with our innovative spirit, which has proven time and again that we are ready to rise with the key changes in our industry. Air cargo brings new and updated tools to better analyse and adapt to these advancements, with greater visibility to live data to help us make informed, strategic decisions. And we bring our partnerships, new and old, which only continue to flourish and strengthen considering ever-changing systems and requirements.

David Linford is VP for sales and account management at CHAMP

f APIs and similar technologies, the digital landscape of air cargo can rapidly change, says CHAMP’s David Linford