Heathrow’s only on-airport express courier anticipates imports up by one third ahead of Christmas

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord
05-Dec-2023

Heathrow-based CFL, the only express courier on-site at the airport, says it expects its imports in the run up to Christmas to be up almost one third (30%) compared to last year, adding that India is an increasingly important source of express shipments into the UK.

According to the Department for Business and Trade total UK imports from India amounted to £22.3 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023, an increase of almost 24% compared to the same four quarters last year.

Matthew Ware, CEO at CFL, said “Indian express import volumes have grown by around 30% year-on-year, and show no signs of slowing down. India is becoming one of the most important import markets for the UK and we are uniquely well placed to meet this growing demand.

“Structurally, there are a number of well established businesses in India that provide innovative express logistics solutions.”

According to the ONS, the value of goods imported into the UK increased by £2 billion (4.2%) in May 2023, rising a further £0.8 billion (1.7%) in August. The increases were from both EU and non-EU countries.

The Business Research Company recently published that the global express delivery market is expected to grow from $277.04 billion in 2022, to $303.84 billion in 2023, a compound annual growth rate of 9.7%.

Consumers around the world are increasingly demanding faster delivery services.

Matthew Ware added; “This anticipated boost in pre-Christmas imports has led to us adapt our working practices and invest in new IT systems, in order to maintain our best-in-class delivery times.”

As well as a surge in imports, the approach of Christmas is driving up anticipated December export volumes, which CFL expects to be around 50% higher than the rest of the year; the strength of the pound, currently at its highest level against the Dollar for 15 months, is a significant factor.

Express courier service providers, like CFL, typically see volumes increase in both directions around major holiday periods like Christmas.

Matthew Ware added; ‘“On some days, including Black Friday and the ten days before Christmas, volumes can be two or three higher than other times of the year.

“However, we have prepared well in advance for handling these higher volumes.

“As business surges, and Christmas gets ever closer, our partners need to know they can still collect and deliver at our usual speed. General cargo typically experiences longer delays when volumes increase.”

CFL has dedicated collection and drop-off bays that allow customers to collect their shipments from only 60 minutes after a flight arrives, and drop off from 90 minutes before flight departures. Customers can drop off and collect from multiple airlines, making CFL the fastest and most efficient way to receive or send shipments through Heathrow.

The company is owned by some of the best-known names in the logistics and airlines business, including Fed Ex, DHL, UPS and Virgin, and operates the UKs only dedicated multi-user express handling facility.

Matthew Ware concluded, “Because we are owned by our customers we are able to offer outstanding express connections at a much lower price than general cargo.”

CFL was formed forty years ago as Heathrow became the world’s premier long-haul airport.

The growth of the on-board courier product, which allowed unaccompanied packages to travel in the hold as unaccompanied luggage, led to huge pressure on the passenger terminals.

As a result, Heathrow looked to move the courier product out of passenger terminals and the industry created CFL to manage this.

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Author: Edward Hardy