THE PERCEIVED success of the Nordic countries appears to be the envy of the world.
Some socio-economic commentators have even gone as far as to describe the region as ‘the next supermodel’ (the Economist) because the small ensemble of open economies there have systematically struck pitch-perfect chords, resulting in a model that has consistently borne fruit.
Despite such a glowing endorsement, the region’s local and international air cargo operators have all unanimously concluded that 2012 was a bleak year for the airfreight market – a chink in the Viking armour.
The main contributory factors, which come as no surprise, were the impact of continued fiscal uncertainty, sea freight’s growing appeal – and overcapacity.
One of the countries is Sweden, which is the Nordic region’s biggest and most stable airfreight market, and where volumes crash-landed by almost 20 per cent last year.
That nation is a big exporter of pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, automotive, machinery and industrial products and continues to benefit handsomely from the strong activity of belly carriers, such as IAG Cargo (British Airways and Iberia), which serves all the major destinations in Scandinavia including Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki, using its B767s, A320s and A319s. Sweden also possesses good connections to continental Europe and neighbouring airports.
Lufthansa Cargo (LC) classes Denmark as probably the only Nordic market which has a substantial amount of consolidation traffic. The German airline says this is due to its attractive proximity with mainland Europe.
“Copenhagen Airport sees serious amounts of belly capacity but also regular calls from freighter operators. The huge overcapacity in the Danish market and the good logistical connections to other hub airports have made this market extremely competitive,” asserts Alexander Kohnen, director Nordic and Baltic countries, at LC.
Finnair Cargo (FC) – the largest freight carrier in the Nordics, with 14 per cent market share, operates in the biggest fish trade lanes to Japan, China, Singapore and Thailand. The carrier transported 145,000 tonnes last year despite the obvious economic pressures.
“Our home market, the Nordic region, had a tough year in 2012. Airfreight volumes went down in all countries, with the exception of Norway, where growth in fish exports continued its success,” Juha Järvinen, FC’s managing director reveals.
Read the Scandinavia and Finland feature in full in the next edition of Air Cargo News 15 July 2013 - Issue No. 756