The global air cargo market reported impressive growth last year, marking the first upswing in the market following a long period of stagnation. The result, fear many environmentalists, will lead not merely to the growth of the global air cargo market but also contribute significantly to the increase in CO2 emissions. Analysts predict that more emissions will be produced from freight cargo than passengers by 2050.
The International Transport Forum (ITF) has provided figures estimating that emissions will grow 286 per cent by 2050. CO2 emissions from air freight are expected to lead this growth, as analysts predict a 411 per cent increase on 2010 levels, with volumes transported reaching a projected 767 million tonnes.
Although the increase in CO2 emissions does suggest that the air cargo market will grow significantly, it also poses a setback for the air freight market as concern over CO2 emissions, already a hot topic, will no doubt become increasingly problematic for freight companies. The rise in emissions will possibly lead to stricter air freight legislation, for example, increasing capacity constraints, which could halt economic growth.
Although the global air cargo market reported strong growth last year, profits declined for the third year in a row, researchers noting no immediate prospect of improvement. However, with many countries focusing on significant market growth, investment into this area could account for declining profits as a whole.
Most of the growth noted in the global air cargo market in 2014 was contributed to by the Asia-Pacific region (which contributed 46 per cent to the total increase of freight tonne kilometres), and the Middle East region (contributing 29 per cent)
The ITF suggests that in order to combat the rising CO2 emissions, the global air cargo market should make further moves towards ensuring full use of the capacity of freight facilities – a benefit all-round for the air cargo market as improved capacity-usage would lead to improved efficiency, lowered costs per cargo, and reduced handling time.
Numerous air cargo companies are already looking into ways to combat growing CO2 emissions. Deutsche Post DHL GoGreen programme investing in more efficient aircrafts 30 per cent less CO2 per delivery and square metre of holding space used by 2020. Moves such as this are predicted to secure growth for individual air cargo companies over the next five years.
Alongside Deutsche Post DHL, the following companies are currently seen as the leading figures in the global air cargo market: Cathay Pacific Cargo, FedEx, The Emirates Group and United Parcel Service (UPS). Other prominent market providers include: Airfrance KLM Martinair Cargo, British Airlines, Cargolux, China Airlines, Delta Airlines, Etihad Airways, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and TNT Express.
Another possible hurdle which the global air cargo will have to face over the coming years is the uptake of new forms of surface transportation, such as bullet trains. Such modes of transport, being cheaper, easier to operate, and producing lower CO2 emissions, will find greater acceptance from the global cargo industry.