Monday, January 18, 2021

As Passenger Numbers Collapse so Dedicated Freight Carrier Steps in to Help Fill the Gap

Cargo Service Capacity Increased by 60 Percent
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – There have always been complaints from forwarding agents and road haulage operators that, where freight is shipped alongside passengers, carriers often prioritise travellers during peak seasons, so as to maximise their profits.

This argument admittedly has usually predominated on the RoRo ferry services, with summer seen as the time to replenish the coffers by the operating lines, and freight given a better deal during the winter months.

If it has done nothing else, the current worldwide pandemic has brought the importance of the supply chain to the fore, a situation which it is to be hoped will remain in the collective carriers’ memories long after Covid-19 becomes a sour memory, (assuming that will ever happen).

One way to avoid such conflict is to have a dedicated department to fight for the best deal for specific sectors, and one such, Virgin Atlantic Cargo, seems to have relished the chance to help fill the void left by the drastic reduction in its passenger operations due to the virus.

The company has increased its capacity on key routes taking the airlines’ cargo-only rotations from 21 up to 33 per week this month, an increase of 60%, keeping global supply chains running and transporting essential goods across the globe. The cargo only flying includes daily flights between London and Brussels, offering same day European connections for customers.

The increase in scheduled operations comes as Virgin Atlantic Cargo celebrates an historic and record-breaking year in 2020. The cargo business operated 4,000 cargo only flights and also launched 10 new routes. These included Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dublin, Milan, Islamabad, Lahore, San Juan and Xiamen, an unprecedented feat during (and in some way due to) turbulent operating conditions and demanding trading environments. Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director at Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said:

“The growth in our cargo-only flying this January demonstrates the agility and flexibility of our teams in order to maintain a resilient cargo operation in such dynamic market conditions. Despite a decrease in passengers travelling, demand to transport cargo remains strong and we’re delighted to play our part transporting a whole range of goods across the world, keeping vital global supply chains moving.

“We’re thankful for the support of our customers throughout an unprecedented 2020 and want to emphasise we are once again here with a broad cargo destination portfolio and charter capability to support 2021 demand.”

The recent growth in dedicated freighter traffic is unprecedented and Virgin Atlantic Cargo is backing it up in two ways. The company also offers a dedicated charter service to meet customer needs plus maintaining the transport of cargo on its scheduled passenger services which are still operating.

This means the belly holds of its planes are still able to service destinations including Atlanta, Barbados, Boston, New York JFK, Lagos, Islamabad, Lahore, Los Angeles, Miami and Tel Aviv as well as dedicated cargo only operations to Antigua, Brussels, Chicago, Delhi, Dublin, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Miami, Mumbai, San Juan in Puerto Rico and Shanghai.