Automation and digitalisation, e-commerce and trade tensions are the top three trends in the air freight industry over the next 12 months according to freight forwarders surveyed by IAG Cargo.
IAG Cargo surveyed more than 400 freight forwarders in 47 countries, who shared perceptions, key trends and market expectations of the air cargo industry in the coming 12 months for its Cargo Next survey report.
The findings indicate that freight forwarders are optimistic about the direction of the industry. A full 70 per cent of freight forwarders surveyed are expecting the rate of technological change to increase in the year ahead, in comparison to one year ago, and 81 per cent of forwarders believe technological innovation will have a positive impact on their business.
Nearly 55 per cent of survey participants identified increased automation and digitalisation as the most important trends in the air freight industry in the near future, followed by the growth of e-commerce at 41 per cent.
Trade tensions came in third in importance for freight forwarders, with 29 per cent of survey respondents listing trade tensions dampening growth as a very significant or significant trend.
The biggest challenge identified by freight forwarders is talent attraction and retention, with 79 per cent of respondents identifying talent as either a very significant or significant challenge.
55 per cent of the more than 400 freight forwarders in 47 countries surveyed identified the two trends as being paramount over the next 12 months.
Enikö Matanov, director of Strategy & Revenue Optimisation, IAG Cargo, says: “We are hugely encouraged by the global appetite of freight forwarders to implement real change in the fields of digitalisation and automation. The scope for digitalisation and automation to transform the cargo industry is huge. We are dedicated to bringing advancements from within and outside the air cargo industry to continually improve and deliver the best service for our customers.
“Our work in this area has accelerated significantly in recently years. We are working with start-ups from the Hangar 51 accelerator programme, trialling new technologies and investing in innovation to improve the way we work.
“We have further developed our APIs, enabling real-time information on rates, available capacities, and routing options via e-booking platforms, customer booking systems, and IAGCargo.com, providing a one-stop shop for freight forwarders,” Matanov says.
The survey respondents offered a global view with 42 per cent from Europe, 19 per cent from the Americas, 35 per cent from Asia and 4.0 per cent from the rest of the world.
Responses also reflect the differences in view depending on company size, with 67 per cent of participants coming from businesses with less than 200 employees and 33 per cent from larger players.
The full survey results, with perspectives from leaders in the industry, are available here.