AirBridgeCargo carried an impressive
automotive tonnage in 2018
Geared for growth?
Ian Putzger finds that there are some
anomalies within the automotive sector.
In the UK, new car sales are staggering while in Europe, the
diesel particulate fall-out is still settling; but despite such
setbacks, automotive traffic has been strong for air cargo
carriers. In the first nine months of 2018, AirBridgeCargo
Airlines carried over 50,000 tonnes, up 13% on the year before.
According to General Manager Sergey Lazarev, this was one of
the highest growth rates of industry verticals.
Lufthansa Cargo also had a good year in this segment, with
high, single-digit growth, reports Michael Engelhard, Head of
Sales at the carrier’s Stuttgart station.
“Demand has been growing. We are optimistic for the
coming years,” adds Dirk Reupert, Head of Sales and Handling
Monica Franco, Head of Vertical Market Industrial &
Automotive - the Americas at DB Schenker, is also upbeat
about the automotive sector but sees some question marks on
the horizon. Business has increased significantly over the past
couple of years and she expects a similar level in 2019, but she
is not sure if it will continue
to grow. “It may plateau,” she
Customers have adopted a
more conservative stance in
the light of the uncertainty
that has begun to cloud
the outlook, she notes. In
recent months, the markets
in the US and China have
shown signs of weakening.
In late November, General
Motors announced that
five production facilities
in North America and two
plants elsewhere would not
be assigned new vehicles or
components after 2019.
The trade conflict between
China and the US has also
ruffled feathers. According
to car maker Ford, higher
tariffs on US metal imports
could mean a US$1bn hit
on its bottom line - and car
prices started to edge up in
September in the US.
The stand-off is also
reinforcing the trend towards
localisation of production. In
its Finished Vehicle Shipping
Annual Review and Forecast
2018/19, maritime research
and consulting firm Drewry
predicts that increasing
localisation and the threat
of trade wars will slow the
growth in shipping of finished
vehicles. Somewhat ironically,
though, these developments
may not be a concern for air
8 February 2019 www.airlogisticsinternational.com