Heavylift / Breakbulk
Ready to go and flexible
The way airfreight is currently gasping for capacities probably causes stressful moments for many a logistician today – all the more so if they have to shift particularly large or heavy consignments. ITJ editor Andreas Haug spoke to a charter specialist about the current state of the business.
You’ve been in business for a while now, Mr Hunziker – what qualities are most in demand today?
Staying calm and continuing to enjoy your work are two of the qualities needed most in these rather hectic times. On top of this it’s both important to be able to offer your customers solutions you’ve developed in advance, as well as to remain flexible. We simultaneously try to ‘think outside the box’; we seek new solutions, where necessary, that enable us to offer our customers the best services as well as the most suitable options. Our global teams collaborate very closely and can be reached around the clock.
Chapman Freeborn became a part of the Aviation Solutions Group (ASG) last year. What synergies were you able to develop as a result?
We use parts of ASG’s fleet for charter operations. Over and above this we cooperate in every business field, to generate as many synergies as possible.
What impact has the ongoing crisis had so far on the charter flight segment in general?
Everybody wants to charter aircraft at the same time now, without knowing precisely what it involves and what input and risks it entails. Demand for capacities is very high right now, which automatically drives up prices.
What developments have you yourself observed along the various trade lanes?
Every single route is booming at the moment. There’s still extremely strong demand for flights from Asia – mainly from China – to Europe and the USA. We’ve also received many inquiries concerning transport services from China to Africa and South America. Early in April links from Europe to the USA were also in strong demand. There was a short easing – but now the trade lane is accelerating again for May, because most US production facilities have been allowed to resume business.
What can you tell us about individual developments for specific groups of commodities?
Demand for the air transport of humanitarian aid is particularly high at the moment, of course. [See the article on the preceding page too – ed.] Increasing demand for normal air cargo services will follow soon, I’m sure. We also expect to see a rise here in May.
What capacities remain for shippers seeking to shift oversized or heavy consignments?
At the moment it’s rather difficult in general to find free airfreight capacities, but because we have such good relations with airlines, going back many, many years, we can mostly find suitable aircraft for every project we’re asked about.
What lessons, in your opinion, can airfreight and logistics specifically, and the public in general, glean from this crisis?
First of all – don’t panic! As for logistics, I’ve ascertained room for improvement in the way that the individual interfaces in the supply chain are coordinated. The airfreight segment, finally, can gain if it further improves and optimises its processes on the ground.