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DB Schenker foresees another challenging year ahead for air freight

DB Schenker's head of air freight in the Americas, Asok Kumar, predicts that next year will again be 'challenging' for the industry with flat air cargo rates, the ongoing US-China trade war and a shift in manufacturing all converging on the market

13 December 2019 - 19:00

DB Schenker's head of air freight in the Americas, Asok Kumar, predicts that next year will again be 'challenging' for the industry with flat air cargo rates, the ongoing US-China trade war and a shift in manufacturing all converging on the market.

In a blog post, Mr Kumar said that market indicators pointed towards a tough year, although, he hoped for some improvement over 2019.



'From the market data we're seeing and the feedback that we're receiving, it looks as if we might see some improvement over 2019,' said Mr Kumar. 'There are definitely a lot of external factors that will play into it, so we'll just have to wait and see.'



He pointed out that excess air freight capacity would lead to 'good rates' for the customer in 2020 and could result in some shippers exploring air services as a shipping option, reported London's Air Cargo News.



If the China-US trade war continues as it has been, it will act as a drag on the market in 2020, he added.



'However, if agreements are put in place and the issues begin to get resolved, then we may see a reverse effect,' Mr Kumar said.



Shippers are responding to the trade war by moving production away from China to places like Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.



However, he warned that these shifts could result in capacity shortages as carriers struggle to keep up with a shift in demand.



'This could occur in countries like Vietnam and Thailand, where carriers may be unable to 'shift' quickly,' said Mr Kumar, 'thus creating some bottlenecks for shippers to deal with'.



Another development that could affect the market is the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.



He said: 'If there's a hard Brexit, we could run into a challenging scenario. For example, air freight capacity could tighten up if the current policies and procedures change regarding the movement of freight in and out of Europe.'


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