|FedEx Express COO Michael Ducker|
2012 saw air freight contribute $98 billion to the global economy and fly $US 10 trillion goods internationally, but Ducker called it a disappointing year, given that cargo volumes and yield dropped 2% year on year.
In line with many industry commentators who have borne witness to small dips in growth in the industry since 2008, Ducker affirmed that the days of cheap fuel and high investment are over for the foreseeable future: "a new normal" has permeated the industry, he said. Financial stagnation and high oil prices are the primary factors defining the current market.
At the same time, US markets are seeing increased competition from the emerging markets of China, Brazil and Poland as well as competition from sea carriers. Ducker stated, "I think the future of air cargo is directly tied to ocean freight, but sea freight isn't for everyone." Shippers of time-sensitive, high value goods will always depend on air freight, he stressed.
In order to face the challenges of the future, Ducker urged greater supply chain innovation and efficiency and the quicker adoption of e-freight, calling paper-based processes relics and anachronisms.