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Current Trend in Airfreight



As peak shipping season continues, sky high demand combined with low ocean freight capacity is pushing airfreight demand along with their rates, through the roof.


The Push Away from Ocean Freight

The pandemic has caused labor and equipment shortages, fluctuating supply & demand, and an overall lack of predictability and reliability in the ocean cargo industry. Ports have been consistently experiencing extreme congestion and slowdowns while demand has grown throughout the pandemic from people stuck at home. In response, ocean freight prices are increasing daily while service levels continue to fall.


As more people get vaccinated, their confidence in the economy and their own wallets increases. In particular, consumer demand in the US and Europe is surging at rates not seen in over a decade, emptying inventories in warehouses before manufacturers and retailers can refill them using overburdened and slow ocean carriers.


The Turn Toward Air Freight

Suppliers are eager to meet the rising demand, and they have started re-evaluating their options for getting their products to consumers. The traditional method of shipping large quantities by ocean is unappealing due to the multitude of issues caused by the pandemic, not to mention their astronomically high rates.


Alternatively, transporting by air offers a much faster solution unburdened by the congestion of ocean ports, pushing shippers to try it when they otherwise wouldn’t have. Many of the goods going by air would traditionally only fall into the ocean freight category as the prices aren’t exactly enticing and you normally can’t ship as much at one time. Nonetheless, the long-term benefits of keeping inventory on the shelves can outweigh temporary losses for some manufacturers, as not doing so may void deals and contracts that they have with retailers, resulting in even greater losses in the future.


Air Freight Prices and Growth

Price alone is certainly one of the driving factors for the switch to air freight. Reduced air freight capacity due to international travel bans combined with huge consumer demand has resulted in exorbitant air freight prices reaching up to three times that of ocean freight. And that’s considering that ocean rates are already at some of the highest levels in history due to the turmoil of last year.


Despite extreme rate levels, the increased security, reliability, and speed of air freight encouraged shippers to choose it over ocean cargo. Evaluating 2021 growth based on both freight tonnage and the ratio of cargo tonnage flown to available freight capacity indicates significant growth. With increased consumer demand and ocean freight disruptions, air freight volumes have nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels.


Whether it’s ocean or air, ClearFreight is ready to help you move your cargo in the most cost effective and timely manner possible. Our team of dedicated logistics experts stands ready to help you every step of the way and answer any questions you might have. Contact us today to hear about our customized supply chain solutions and how we can make logistics easier for you.

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