More cars take the high road

05 / 03 / 2014

  • Emirates' ground handling team at work loading a vehicle

    Emirates' ground handling team at work loading a vehicle

Despite the ongoing economic malaise, automotive sales and related logistics cruised through 2013 in top gear, with sales records broken in growth markets like China and Brazil.

“We had some growth last year, mainly from existing accounts,” reveals Lucas Kuehner, global head of airfreight at Panalpina. Both automotive original equipment manufacturers [OEMs] and parts suppliers have been showing a heightened appetite for air cargo, he points out.

A spokesman for Lufthansa Cargo describes the automotive business as “stable overall”, with moderate growth in the worldwide transport of complete cars. He adds that the airfreighting of electric vehicles appears to be on the rise. The German airline carried some of these cars to the Detroit auto show last year.

Other automotive traffic – largely car parts – also gives cause for optimism in the year ahead, as German car manufacturers have reported full order books and markets like China and Brazil remain strong, he says. “Overall, a plus in the low, single-digit per cent range is expected,” he concludes.

This dovetails with the observations of Dirk Steiger, managing director of Frankfurt-based airfreight consulting firm Triple A, whose client list includes several German auto firms.

“We see demand for whole vehicles going by air, like the new BMW,” he remarks, adding that manufacturers have been upbeat about the business and the outlook for 2014. 

Read Ian Putzger's full piece in Air Cargo News 10 March 2014 – Issue No.772