Aircargo Forum in Abu Dhabi United International Companies and Freight Forwarders

Aircargo forum of Neutral Air Partners (NAP) network took place in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in the center of the most dynamically developing Middle East region. 

In spite of the fact that the NAP forum gathered for the first time, the most eminent and known world logistics conferences and the summits could envy its attendance. More than 100 top managers dealing with airfreight logistics were meeting within 4 working days in the UAE, having held more than 1000 face-to-face meetings and negotiations.

Neutral Air Partner

The main idea of the forum as ‘creating a neutral platform for interaction of participants of the airfreight market from various countries and industries dealing with airfreight logistics’ was announced by the organizer and the founder of Neutral Air Partners network Christos Spirou. The platform does not only provide access to joint conferences, negotiations and contacts of the association members, but also offers contemporary IT system including unique database of the airlines, associates, and logistic companies dealing with airfreight.

According to Christos Spirou the system represents a ready-made online product for interaction and includes CRM block, detailed profile of every member, possibility of classifying each partner according to specialization, geolocation function, choosing a specific partner according to his best services coverage such as: freight volumes by directions and airlines,  cargo turnover of the company by directions, rates, terms of delivery, etc.

The software will comprise not only logistic companies, customs brokers and freight forwarders, but also vendors like airports, airlines, GSAs, as well as marine agents with whom direct link can be established through NAP.
At the moment such airlines as Etihad, Air Bridge Cargo, Astral Aviation which participated in the Forum will be included into the platform.

Neutral Air Partner

The board head of the ACEX Russian Worldwide Logistic Alliance Miroslav Zolotarev was invited as the speaker on behalf of the Airfreight Translogistic Platform of the EEU countries, a joint project of the Alliance with the Logistics Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. He made presentation about specifics of the Russian and Euroasian airfreight logistics and held negotiations with the vice-president of Air Bridge Cargo airlines George Biwer, with the representative of the world consolidated system of the flight schedules OAG Paul Ritchie, with the heads of the logistic companies from India, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Peru, China, Romania, Indonesia, Great Britain, the USA, and others interested in developing business with Russia and EEU.

The largest world airlines and suppliers of technologies for the international airfreight logistics also made their presentations to the participants.

Neutral Air Partner

The vice-president of the Russian Airlines Air Bridge Cargo Georges Biwer presented detailed report about strategic development of the world airfreight industry and foreign trade perspectives for the next years. According to ABC Airlines’research the world’s GDP growth of 3% per annum is expected again in 2017-2018 after global drop of the last years connected with the economic crisis. The report forecasted growth of the airfreight industry figures by 2%-2,5% per year.

The "fittest" companies would survive, the speaker noted. As there would be a slow but continuous reduction in freighter operators and decelerating growth of freighter capacity, the supply/demand gap would start to narrow  and would lead to the stabilization of airlines yields followed by an uptick of the industry.

Neutral Air Partner
Neutral Air Partner

The head of the Russian Worldwide Logistics Alliance ACEX, Miroslav Zolotarev, agreed that the situation is stabilizing compared to the same period of the previous year. Aircargo turnover growth in FTK and tonnage has being observed in Russia. It proves that demand for the air transportation is less elastic than for the ocean freight where we have seen recession of 30-40%. That means that the products historically “gravitating” to aircargo will stay with airfreight. Preserving these volumes and even growth of such cargo flows shows that the goods’ segment transported by aircraft doesn't decrease in case of general decrease of economic indicators.

The competition is still rather high, the world economy recovers from crisis slowly and therefore significant increase in the cargo turnover between the markets is not observed. The volumes of the freight transported in Russia according to the Federal Agency of Air Transport (FAAT) data is stable, a surplus of 5% in comparison with the previous year can be seen in Jan-Aug 2016. At the same time significant increase in volumes of transportations between Russia and the CIS countries by 34% might have being caused generally by import substitution policy of the Russian Federation Government and redirection to the markets of the neighboring countries.

General situation is positive and there is a 14% growth of cargo tonnage in the Russian civil aviation according to the FAAT data.

The chairman of the board of Astral Aviation Airline, the leader of the airfreight market of the African continent and national carrier of Kenya, Sanjiv Gadhia,  informed that although airfreight transportations in the West African direction at the moment dropped by 20%, at the same time domestic market of East and South Africa shows 15% growth. The speaker reported to attendees current opportunities of the airline operating to over than 20 directions worldwide and having interline agreements with 6 African airlines and 16 airlines from Europe, Middle East and Asia. According to the speaker, the share of foreign carriers on international routes to/from Africa is 80% while they have only 40% intra-Africa, which shows the tendency for potential growth and further integration.

Neutral Air Partner
Neutral Air Partner

Roberto Casabianca, the commercial director of Etihad Cargo airlines, reported that the continued low oil prices might give some relief to the air carriers. He noted that airfreight market showed instability recent years, reduction of the demand for air cargo carriage, and decrease of the airlines yields. Etihad Cargo underlined that airfreight overcapacity on a number of routes had already led to grounding of more than 90 large freighters. Period of 2000 to 2015 was not kind to air cargo: the share of air transport in total cargo turnover dropped from 2,4% to 1%, more than 5 million tons of cargo shifted from air to ocean, the most affected were textiles and food industries.

Further dynamics of the world aircargo turnover in FTK, according to the speaker, is in direct dependence with the dynamics of the GDP growth rates and world trade development.

Experts expect the world GDP to double by 2030 driven by the emerging markets and hence cargo turnover to grow respectively for the benefit by the airfreight industry.

Etihad Presentation

Roberto Casabianca pointed out also to the growing importance of the Middle Eastern (Ethihad, Emitares, Qatar Airways) and the Chinese (AirChina, Cathay Pacific) airlines that grow and overcome the European carriers due to expansion of their networks, investment into their fleet and into innovative technologies. Innovation is a driver in supply chains, partnership is an opportunity to divide risks in the period of instability. The head of commercial service of Etihad Cargo called IT technologies as the main trend of modern logistics development which will unite air carriers on the basis of trust, openness and mutual responsibility.

Many delegates from the international logistic operators already being users of the contemporary IT-systems of information and databases took part in discussion about innovations in the aircargo forum in Abu Dhabi.

Jan Markill, the representative of the Descartes company, world leader of IT solutions in air logistics, presented the complex electronic document management system for the airfreight industry that includes cargo tracking and tracing, flight schedules, electronic air waybills creation and a set of other options.

Paul Ritchie, the representative of the OAG company, world leader of information consolidation of the flight statuses and flight schedules of more than 900 airlines of the world, from large international and to small regional, presented OAG software designed for airfreight supply chain solutions. According to OAG the number of the regular passenger airlines transporting freight grew tenfold during the last 30 years, having reached 1303 carriers by 2015 while the number of the cargo airlines performing scheduled flights dropped to 46 carriers. These indicators once again confirmed the messages of other speakers about availability of the new reality in the market of air cargo and new tendencies.

Starting from early 2000-th forming of the airline alliances, such as SkyTeam, StarAlliance and others became one of the main tendencies in the passenger air transportation that allowed to increase KPIs of the seat utilization due to cooperation and code sharing. The airfreight market went in the footsteps of the passenger one by creating associations and forming aircargo alliances, by expanding number of interline agreements that helped stabilize payload capacity indicators.

Neutral Air Partner

In the current situation of IT technologies rapidly developing and electronic forms of data exchange in logistics being needed not only between air carriers but also between them and other companies of the market (like sales agents, ground handling agents, forwarders, etc) the single standards of providing  services to aircargo customers became necessary and important.

The interest to Abu Dhabi event and the list of its attendees witnesses that the interaction of equal partners is a way to lead the airfreight market development that should be based on professional logistic services and modern technologies.


Download speakers' presentations:

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (.pptx | 3.6 Mb)

Astral Aviation Ltd. (.pptx | 3.4 Mb)

Descarte eAWB Solutions (.pptx | 1.3 Mb)

ETIHAD Cargo (.pdf | 3.8 Mb)

OAG Schedules (.pdf | 2.3 Mb)

ACEX Alliance - Russian worldwide logistics alliance (.ppsx | 8.3 Mb)

NAP - Neutral Air Partner (.pdf | 3.7 Mb)


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