Air cargo infrastructure investments still critical

Major airports in the US are still suffering from lack of investment in air cargo infrastructure and operations and as a result ‘the future of air cargo is at risk”, according to the Airforwarders Association (AfA). 

Speaking at the CNS Partnerships Conference in Dallas, AfA executive director Brandon Fried said that one consequence of inadequate investment is the lengthy waiting times that trucks are facing at airports.

Truck waiting times at airports “routinely reach two-three hours even with decreased shipment volumes”, pointed out Fried during the Opening Plenary of the conference. He added that in comparison trucks were waiting seven-nine hours during the pandemic peak.

Speaking of the present delays, he added: “This inefficiency disrupts supply chains and hinders economic growth.”

He further noted that the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after it was struck by a container ship highlighted the need to “prioritise safety and security of our infrastructure”.

The AfA and the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America recently released a whitepaper which highlights key areas requiring investment.

These include public sector financial support for infrastructure development and upgrading facilities, more digitalisation and automation to improve efficiency of truck operations, training programmes for workforce development, modernising security badging processes at airports and consistent policy enforcement to support a robust operating environment.

To tackle the airport congestion issue, the AfA enlisted the support of three US Senators to convince the Government Accountability Office to carry out a review of the issues.

“Our hope is that the study will validate the challenges we face and open the door for legislation requiring the federal funding necessary to alleviate congestion and improve truck throughout at our nation’s airports,” explained Fried.

He also stressed that while the air cargo industry understands the urgency required to prevent the flow of illegal substances, such as fentanyl, and supports efforts to tackle this, the industry should resist efforts to implement 100% physical inspections of pharma packages.

“Such an approach would grind air cargo operations to a halt, disrupting legitimate trade and harming the global economy.

“Instead, we urge governments to leverage advanced data analysis and cutting-edge protection technologies to target suspicious shipments without impeding the flow of commerce.”

US forwarders call for investments not inspections to tackle fentanyl crisis

AfA calls on Biden to improve US airport cargo infrastructure

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]