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ANA sees global chip shortage as good cargo opportunity in 2021

JAPAN's ANA Holdings Inc expects its cargo air unit to receive a boost this year from the global chip shortage as planes loaded with semiconductors help speed deliveries to automakers and consumer-electronics manufacturers

08 April 2021 - 19:00
JAPAN's ANA Holdings Inc expects its cargo air unit to receive a boost this year from the global chip shortage as planes loaded with semiconductors help speed deliveries to automakers and consumer-electronics manufacturers.

'Supply chains are scrambling for automotive chips, that's where air cargo can play a role,' said ANA Cargo, CEO Toshiaki Toyama, reports Bloomberg.



Congestion at sea ports, along with severe winter weather, is also forcing companies to rely more on air freight, propping up carriers' deteriorating profits, he said.



'Marine transportation has been very tight since last fall due to the coronavirus, so air cargo is overflowing,' Mr Toyama said.



Cargo has emerged as one bright spot for airlines, weathering their worst-ever period as the coronavirus pandemic halts passenger travel. With many people around the world stuck at home for the best part of 2020, there was a boom in online shopping and e-commerce surged, pushing air-freight rates higher. At the start of the year, carriers were also busy flying masks and personal protective equipment to countries.



Air cargo volumes returned to pre-Covid levels in January, figures from the International Air Transport Association show, although emerging markets reported weaker export demand amid additional virus outbreaks.



ANA isn't a large player in cargo, ranking 12th globally in 2019 by scheduled tonnes. In normal times, the biggest cargo operators in Asia are Cathay Pacific and Korean Air, but even they pale beside giants like FedEx and UPS.



The Japanese carrier is aiming to reach the top five within a few years by focusing on freight with higher unit prices, such as precision machinery, Mr Toyama said.



Revenue for ANA's international cargo unit for the third quarter ended December 31 jumped 88 per cent from a year earlier to JPY51 billion (US$468 million). In January, ANA and rival Japan Airlines boosted international cargo operations to meet growing demand for semiconductors and medical supplies.


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