Shipping air worldwide: Was the global crisis a lifeline?

While the global container shipping industry sails turbulent seas, shipping air worldwide is going strong, with demand up 7.7% compared to pre-COVID levels.  

This is the fourth consecutive month of strong reporting. The international travel restrictions during the pandemic hit the air industry hard, as passenger travel was all but halted worldwide.  

Its recovery is just beginning as travel corridors start to re-open, but what’s been interesting to see is that whilst passenger flights took a downturn, the demand for shipping air worldwide grew — possibly offering a much-needed lifeline to an industry in crisis.

Shipping air worldwide: The demand for air cargo

This year the demand for air cargo is expected to exceed 2019 levels and rise to a record $175 billion. It has become a sought-after mode of transport amongst shippers who pre-COVID relied primarily on sea freight. 

The disruption, capacity shortage and price tag of ocean freight shipping now see it as a less favorable option than the more reliable and faster movement of cargo by air. The conversation has very much turned from, “Air cargo isn’t as ‘green’ as sea transport,” to “Air freight is the more reliable option to get cargo moving,”  

Unfortunately for shippers, it’s become a secondary factor, as the need to move goods outweighs the need to move them sustainably. But on this front, there is some good news…

Carbon emissions and the impact shipping air worldwide 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

Target: 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon

The world’s airlines have come together and pledged to make flying more sustainable.  They’ll be supported by all parts of the aviation industry and backed by government policy to undertake this huge challenge.

So how will they do it?

  • 65% through sustainable aviation fuels

  • 22% carbon capture, storage and offsets

  • 13% new propulsion technology like electric and hydrogen

If you are interested in moving cargo by sea, air, road or rail, click here for a quote or speak to your local Hillebrand Gori office.


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