Geodis expands air cargo charter operations to secure capacity

By Damian Brett

Geodis has become the latest freight forwarder to expand air operations as the sector prepares for another year of tight capacity.

The France-headquartered freight forwarder has confirmed the extension of its AirDirect service with the addition of a weekly flight from Shanghai (PVG) to Guadalajara, with the first flight taking place on March 3.

Geodis said the service is planned to continue until at least the end of 2022 and claimed it is the only direct service from Mexico to north and central China.

“This enhancement complements the existing Hong Kong to Guadalajara (HKG-GDL) schedule, initiated in November 2019,” the company said.

The forwarder said the service would provide better lead times and supply chain security for sensitive cargo, including lithium batteries.

“We believe a freight partner who is controlling the transport service network, including flight operations, is a vital asset to Asian exporters,” said Onno Boots, Geodis’ regional president and chief executive for Asia Pacific. “This latest extension to AirDirect is part of an own controlled network (OCN) that provides seamless control over shipments within our multi-modal network throughout Asia.”

Geodis senior vice president of global airfreight Stanislas Brun added: “The success of the AirDirect Mexico service over the past fifteen months has encouraged our investment in a direct Shanghai flight to add to our existing Hong Kong offer.

“By constantly refining our services in response to the dynamic market forces currently on display, we continue to support our customer’s growth.  We are proud of the unique PVG-GDL offering which augments our nearly 700 AirDirect flights performed over the past 12 months.”

The forwarder did not reveal which airline or aircraft would be used for the service.

Geodis is not the only freight forwarder to reveal an expanded “own-controlled” air cargo operation this year. Earlier this month, DB Schenker said it would launch a new flight connecting Asia, Europe and North America.

The moves come as the industry expects capacity shortages to continue due to the loss of bellyhold capacity. One air cargo executive recently confided that his airline, as well as others, were expecting it to take three years for  passenger operations to reach previous levels.

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