Modal shift here to stay, says expert

THE modal shift of freight from air to ocean has few signs of relenting, a maritime consultant suggests.
Michel Looten, director of marine at Seabury Group, says shippers have found ways to send by sea many of those goods traditionally flown. Fashion goods have been one of the sharpest examples of modal shift, he adds, with the air cargo industry losing 600,000 metric tons of fashion goods to container lines between 2000 and 2013.
Fresh flowers have also increasingly been transported by ship on shorter routes, such as Ecuador and Colombia to the US, although longer routes, such as to Europe, still require airfreight.
Automotive parts are the next likely goods to shift to ocean, he predicts, along with electronics, machinery, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and fresh food.
However, Looten suggested that any supply chain disruption on the water, such as a terrorist attack on the Suez Canal or further unrest in Eastern Europe, could encourage shippers to return to airfreight.

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