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  • Writer's pictureTristan Murff

Global Air Freight Poised for Growth, Tech Transformation

In 2019, the global air freight market was valued at $270.2 billion. By 2027, it is expected to reach $376.8 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%. For comparison, a CAGR of 4.8% is projected for global containerized ocean freight during the same period. On its surface, this is surprising, since ocean freight is widely recognized as the most cost-effective transportation method per ton. The expansion of global supply chains, the liberalization of trade policies and advancements in ocean freight shipping technology have led to a substantial upswing in the ocean freight market's growth.


However, air freight continues to play a vital role in quickly delivering valuable and high-quality products across the world, contributing to global economic development. It is also essential to the distribution of time-critical products such as temperature-sensitive medications, which require state-of-the-art technology and procedures. Although air freight represents only 1% of global freight activity by weight, it is a key mode of transportation for the jewelry, perishable, pharmaceutical and electronics industries, among many others.


The global air freight market is undergoing a technological transformation, with old mainframe systems being replaced by more adaptable interfaces. Additionally, increased usage of cool-chain technology, robotics, automated systems, artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and augmented/virtual reality tools is expected to drive the growth of global air freight in coming years. Faster delivery times and the rising popularity of consolidated air freight service are also anticipated to boost market growth, although the high costs associated with air freight solutions remain a challenge.


Air freight is the fastest mode of transportation, typically delivering items in just a few hours. The customs clearance process is quick because there is much less stock to unload in comparison to cargo ships and the requirement for local warehousing is less common. Additionally, air freight is the safest mode of transportation, as goods sent via air go through the least handling and are strictly managed at airports, reducing the risk of both theft and product damage.


Air freight service providers mainly offer four options for making deliveries: charter, standard, deferred and consolidated. The charter option, whether a full or split charter services, involves securing a specialized aircraft to carry substantial amounts of merchandise or unusually large cargo. Standard air service transports cargo quickly with occasional stops, a fast and effective way to ship via air without incurring the added expense of expedited service. If you choose a deferred air service, it will move at a lower cost, but undergo several stops throughout its journey to reach its ultimate destination.


Consolidated air freight offers users an economical method of transportation, providing lower rates and reliable schedules while enabling better supply chains planning. Consolidated air freight is more attractive to airlines as it is more cost-effective to operate an airplane with a full cargo load than one that is only partially loaded. The rising popularity of consolidated air freight service is expected to drive the growth of the global air freight market in the coming years.


Over the past few years, the popularity of e-commerce has skyrocketed, making it a crucial element of the global sales landscape. This transformation has revolutionized the logistics industry, with clients increasingly demanding speedy deliveries. To meet these expectations, operating models are adapting to provide faster shipping. Air freight is particularly well-suited to meet these demands, as it enables rapid delivery. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that air cargo constitutes over 35% of all international trade-in value. As consumers increasingly turn to online platforms to make purchases, cross-border e-commerce volumes continue to surge. This trend is driving up demand for package delivery services worldwide, with e-commerce projected to become the primary growth engine for the air freight sector in the future.


SPARX logistics has excellent relationships with airlines and competitive rates backed by excellent customer service. We have dedicated and reliable trucking partners for ad-hoc deliveries to and from the airport with priority and deferred service options. If you have questions or require pricing on specific air shipments, please contact:

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