Trucking is a Key to Growing Air Cargo

Posted March 3, 2011 on Centerlines Blog by Aneil Patel

The ACI-NA Air Cargo Committee held its monthly webinar on March, 3. The monthly committee webinars are scheduled for the first Thursday of every month.

This month’s guest speaker was Rene Espinet, Vice President of Global Partnerships, Forward Air, Inc. who presented on “How important are trucking companies to your Airport’s future ‘Air Cargo’ growth?

Forward Air is a leading provider of time-definite surface transportation and related logistics services to the North American deferred air freight market. The company has a network of terminals located on or near airports in the United States and Canada. To serve this market, they offer customers a very high level of service with a focus on on-time, damage-free deliveries.

The majority of freight moves by four different modes: sea, rail, air and truck. But most importantly it all starts and ends in a truck! Consequently airports and truckers have a common interest of airfreight.

The three main road feeder segments that cargo operates in and out of include:

  • The Integrated Service Provider: This segment is time definite and guaranteed and fits express carriers.
  • The Common Carrier: This segment is more cost sensitive, not guaranteed, more deferred and fits ocean and rail.
  • The Expedited Service Provider: This segment is time definite, not guaranteed and meets the growing airfreight market.

Airports need the cargo volume to generate revenue. Cargo revenue can come from multiple sources which include: landing & take off fees, facilities, parking, and port fees. The next question airports should ask themselves is what drives Air Carriers to a specific airport? According to Espinet, passenger demand, freight shifts, strategic hubs and more recently economic considerations are playing an important factor when air carriers choose their location and airport.

To increase cargo volumes, airports need to differentiate and create their own demand. This can be achieved through attracting people to live in the surrounding areas, attracting manufacturing and distribution centers, and using economic considerations to the airport’s competitive advantage.

To attract freight forwarders, airports again need to differentiate to ensure airport facilities are more user-friendly to truck drivers. Drivers do not like to wait for cargo facilities as they get paid by the mile! Providing roadways with easy access and limited congestion helps to attract more freight forwarders.

Currently, trucking companies are doing business off airports because it is cost-prohibited to rent some of the facilities on airports. It would be cost effective to companies if airports can look at offering some kind of subsidy or solution in attracting these companies. Trucking companies have already teamed up with airlines and freight forwarders to provide a seamless product and this allows increasing business out of specific origins throughout North America.

Contact ACI-NA’s Aneil Patel for more information.