The remarkable global shift towards eCommerce is driving substantial growth in the US cargo sector, showing no signs of abating. With the upcoming peak season for freight, we examine how carriers and ground handlers are gearing up for this surge.
Seizing Opportunities in US Cargo and Freight
The cargo sector has experienced a growth spurt, with even more acceleration expected. Numerous carriers, both large and small, are embracing new opportunities and expanding their operations.
Recently, Etihad Cargo announced a 50-ton increase in belly capacity at JFK International, a significant boost for the prominent New York hub. Starting in November, four new weekly passenger flights raise the total to 11 between Abu Dhabi and New York. Combined with other Etihad US freight routes to Chicago and Washington, this pushes the incoming and outgoing cargo capacity to over 1,000 tons per week.
However, handling capacity has historically been a challenge for US cargo operators, particularly during the busy holiday shopping season. Compounded by the global energy situation and rising operational costs, the fuel price hike is causing a ripple effect. To capitalize on opportunities and remain economically competitive, many operators are reevaluating their strategies for future-proofing.
Enhancing Efficiency and Flexibility for Future-proofing
Improving overall efficiency and establishing a flexible, scalable approach are crucial for future-proofing carriers and operators. With operational costs on the rise, optimizing existing resources is essential.
This trend isn’t limited to the US. Worldwide, carriers are adapting to tackle challenges head-on. For example, Qantas Freight recently announced a fleet expansion in response to Australia’s eCommerce growth. They’ve chosen six Airbus A321 aircraft, which offer nine tons more capacity than older fleet models (737s) and are approximately 30% more fuel-efficient.
Better utilization of ground resources is another solution, and technology can play a pivotal role as eCommerce continues to fuel growth.
Tackling Demand with Technology
By automating critical, time-consuming routine processes, efficiency can be immediately improved. Technology can automate and enhance various processes, including but not limited to:
- Regulatory compliance
- Weight and Balance
- Baggage reconciliation
- Data accessibility and sharing
- Fees and billing
To meet demand and seize opportunities, freight, cargo, and passenger flights must minimize ground delays. Turnaround, security, compliance, and reconciliation processes need to be seamless. Fully integrated ground handling technology can boost operational productivity and decrease the necessity for extra resources.
Revamping the Economic Model
Cloud-hosted systems and technologies present further opportunities to modify the economic model. Cloud technology can reveal new possibilities in terms of flexibility, scalability, and cost reduction. The demand for dedicated infrastructure and its associated energy consumption is significantly lowered.
Intelligent technologies communicate differently and utilize data to provide a unique perspective on managing operations. This ability enables predicting ground delays and other potential issues in advance, facilitating proactive responses and improved resource management.
One of the most notable advantages of addressing economics with new technology is the introduction of off-the-shelf solutions. Some airport and handler technologies operate on a pay-per-use model, offering additional opportunities to better control costs. Traditional, expensive fixed-price, long-term contracts are quickly being replaced by a scalable, more flexible approach to economics.
How Can A-ICE Assist?
A-ICE understands the opportunities and challenges faced by teams daily. We believe in solutions that genuinely enhance operations, working with handling teams of all sizes to find the right approach for them.
As the aviation industry works towards future-proofing, it’s evident that a new approach to economics and operations is necessary. At A-ICE, we believe that technology is the answer. Talk to us.