Air freight customers urged: 'decide quicker' to secure capacity

Tue 7 Apr 2020
Posted by: Ana Pintor
Trade News

Customers wanting to book air freight capacity – under severe pressure during the COVID-19 crisis – are being urged to speed up their decision making in order to secure space.

The call comes as the cost of airline cargo space continues to climb as the urgent transport of medicines and personal protection equipment takes priority over non-essential items.  

In a Lloyd’s Loading List article published yesterday, featuring interviews with senior UK and US freight forwarders, a frenetic picture of supply chains “changing not only by the day, but by the hour” emerges.

Brian Bourke, chief growth officer at Chicago-based SEKO Logistics, said of the need for speed in booking air freight:

“For example, if you’re bringing medical devices in from Korea into Spain, Germany or the US, you have to book air freight up to seven days in advance. That is the antithesis of air freight, but that’s just the situation that we are in right now.” 

Experts quoted in the article believe that the transport of PPE items will soon shift from air to premium sea routes.

Of the rise in air freight prices, Lloyd’s Loading List said that rates for chartering standard Boeing 777 and 747 freighters from Asia to Europe are “at least double their usual price ranges”.