East to West

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord
08-Apr-2024

Looking to the West, the challenge in the airfreight industry remains evident, requiring carriers to adapt rapidly to evolving market dynamics. 

Volumes have dropped while capacity increased as belly-hold space returned through the revival of the passenger sector. This situation was widely expected as the industry returned to a sense of normalcy after a tricky two-year period that was dominated by the pandemic.

“2023 was definitely a challenging year,” Soufyan Mouaniss, Etihad Cargo’s Director West Cargo Commercial, said. “The general consensus is that 2024 will be a similar year to 2023, with maybe a slight uptick in the second half of the year.”

“The additional capacity and lack of demand is not a good combination. You need to be agile. You need to adapt accordingly and adjust your strategy,” he added. 

READ: Etihad Cargo expands US capacity with inaugural Boston flight

Strength in diversity

Given the fluctuating nature of demand in the region, Etihad Cargo has placed an emphasis on developing a wide-ranging portfolio to prepare itself for swift changes in customer demands. 

Fresh salmon, fruits, vegetables, etc are some of the primary commodities transported through the region by the carrier, as well as high-tech equipment and general cargo. 

While primarily a passenger airline utilising its belly-hold space, Etihad Cargo can also tap into its freighter fleet to provide the service level required, depending on the nature of the goods being transported. 

“Our approach involves deciding on the most suitable flight for these shipments, aiming for the best connection,” Mouaniss explained. “If leveraging our belly capacity allows for a shorter connection time, we can prioritise that option to enhance efficiency.”

The carrier’s focus extends vertically to pharmaceuticals, with Etihad Cargo being among the first in the Middle East to be certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for both perishables and pharmaceuticals. 

“This certification contributes to our expertise in providing streamlined and secure supply chain solutions for the sizeable customer base through our pharma and Fresh Forward initiative,” Mouaniss highlighted. 

READ: Bridging Africa and Abu Dhabi

Post-Covid push

Following the challenges posed by COVID-19, the focus has been on re-establishing operations to pre-pandemic levels. As part of that, carriers have begun to implement plans that were put on hold during the disruption experienced during the global shutdown.

“Among our recent initiatives, we reinstated services to Dusseldorf, a location that was always part of our pre-Covid map,” Mouaniss said. “Copenhagen was a new route that was always in the works. Initially introduced as a seasonal route, we have decided to operate it year-round, enabling us to serve the Scandinavian countries and be the airline of choice for the seafood market in Norway.”

Beyond those targeted markets, other connections have been added to the carrier’s growing network, bolstering movements to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and Chicago’s O’Hare International.

“This allows us the flexibility to find the right solution for our customers, offering a seamless connection and short transit time,” Mouaniss continued. 

 

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Author: Edward Hardy