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 German express delivery giant DHL is taking measures to boost air freight capacity in its forwarding division to cater to increasing demand from Asia.

 The logistics group has accordingly enlarged its air freight network with the creation of additional consolidation services in the Middle East and Africa. Further measures have also been taken to enhance block space and part charter agreements with commercial passenger and pure cargo carriers, according to the Shipping Gazette.

 “Demand for air freight was the first to turn up amid the global economic recovery, driven by businesses restocking their inventories. Air freight has risen back to levels before the economic crisis. On top of it, full ships and shortage of containers out of Asia forced some shippers to switch part of their deliveries from ocean to air carriage,” the report says, quoting DHL north Asia air cargo chief Charles Kaufmann. 

China has so far led the increased demand, leading DHL to redouble its efforts to collaborate where possible with the country’s airlines. 

Intra-Asia trade overall is expected to maintain a steady 6.2% annual growth rate while Asia-to-Europe and North America trade is expected grow more than 5 %. 

Chinese shipments to North America will likely exceed the pan-Asian estimate, at 8 %, with growth for China-Europe shipments expected to reach 6.8%. 

More than 85% of westbound shipments from the US to China is made up of goods related to manufacturing and production, including chemicals, machinery and intermediary goods, such as leathers and oils, while nearly 90% of all exports from China to North America are consumer products, such as electronics, apparel, footwear and toys. 

Based on a comparison of freight-tonne-kilometres over the past 12 months, overall air freight volumes increased 28.3%, of which 60% was carried by Asia Pacific airlines. 

Kauffman was quoted as saying that: “While volumes continue on an upward trend, air freight operators, particularly in Asia, will cautiously plan their flights and cargo capacity in the market, to avoid an oversupply. The imbalance of the supply and demand will continue into Q2 and Q3 this year. Thus, the main challenge for us in coming months is to acquire capacity at reasonable cost to fulfil demand.”


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