Was the global shipping crisis a life line to the air transport sector? 

Whilst the global container shipping industry sails turbulent seas, the air cargo sector is going strong, with demand up 7.7% compared to pre-Covid levels.  The fourth consecutive month of strong reporting. 

The international travel restrictions during the pandemic hit the air industry hard, as passenger travel was all but halted worldwide.  Its recovery is just beginning as travel corridors start to re-open, but what’s been interesting to see, is that whilst passenger flights took a downturn, cargo freight demand grew.  Possibly offering a much needed life line to an industry in crisis.

This year the demand for air cargo is expected to exceed 2019 levels and rise to a record $175 billion.  It has become a sought after mode of transport amongst shippers who pre-Covid, would rely mostly on sea freight.  The disruption, capacity shortage and price tag of ocean freight shipping, now sees it as a less favorable option, compared to the more reliable and faster movement of cargo by air.

The conversation has very much turned from “air cargo isn’t as ‘green’ as sea transport”, to “air freight is the more reliable option to get cargo moving”. Unfortunately for shippers, it’s become a secondary factor, as the need to move goods is outweighing the need to move it sustainably. But on this front, there is some good news…

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Download the presentation here


Target: 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon

The world’s airlines have come together and pledged to make flying more sustainable.  They’ll be supported by all parts of the aviation industry and backed by government policy to undertake this huge challenge.

So how will they do it?

65% through sustainable aviation fuels
22% carbon capture, storage and offsets
13% new propulsion technology like electric and hydrogen


If you are interested in moving cargo by sea, air, road or rail, click here for a quote or speak to your local Hillebrand office.

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