Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Amazon Freight Fleet to Fly Plans Are a Wake Up Call for the Air Cargo Industry

Global Shippers' Forum Chief Speaks Out
Shipping News Feature
US – WORLDWIDE – The open secret in the US that Amazon is creating its own air cargo network came out last week when the company confirmed it has leased 20 aircraft from Wilmington based air carrier Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) to handle its freight requirements for the next 5 to 7 years. Wilmington, an airport where DHL closed a cargo hub in 2009 with a cost of 8,000 jobs, looks to be the first in a possible series of facilities to be used by Amazon which will deploy the new planes as and where required.

The new fleet will aid Amazon in managing its 2 Day Prime Service by making space available to suppliers whilst supporting its own stock deliveries. Dave Clark, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer service explained saying:

“We offer Earth’s largest selection, great prices and ultra-fast delivery promises to a growing group of Prime members and we’re excited to supplement our existing delivery network with a great new provider, ATSG, by adding 20 planes to ensure air cargo capacity to support one and two-day delivery for customers.”

The news is hardly a shock as Amazon already operates four daily flights from the Kentucky air base using ATSG but the confirmation has already sent ripples throughout the air freight community. Speaking at International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium in Berlin the Secretary General of the Global Shippers' Forum, Chris Welsh said:

"The announcement by Amazon that it plans to save over $1 billion annually in its air freight bill by starting its ‘own account’ air freight operations is a wake-up call for the air cargo market that it needs to speed up and demonstrate that air cargo is a premium service by adding real value to customers. It is a clear indication that the air cargo industry must be more innovative and customer-focused.

“Against the backdrop of weak growth in international trade, shippers are looking for even greater value from the air cargo industry. While the industry enjoys traditional benefits of speed over other modes, it needs to ensure that it is worth the premium service cost versus ocean, road and rail.

"The air cargo product needs to be quicker and slicker in providing end-to-end services. Shippers are calling for door-to-door shipment time to be cut by a half. That means acceleration and implementation of e-commerce and enhanced communications in providing real-time track and trace systems. Customers need to know where their freight is at any point in time.”