More forwarders expand airfreight operations as capacity outlook remains uncertain

By Damian Brett

Geodis B747 air charter

Geodis and DSV are the latest freight forwarders to secure air cargo capacity as they note an uncertain supply outlook.

Geodis said that as a result of a short supply of both freighter and passenger bellyhold space, it had taken the decision to announce a permanent weekly freighter charter operation on the Asia-Europe trade through to early 2021.

This would guarantee customers a regular and reliable service, it claimed.

“Weekly direct flights will depart from Shanghai (PVG) every Monday and from Amsterdam (AMS) each Sunday to service what is expected to be a post-Covid resurgence in demand during what is traditionally a fourth quarter peak season,” Geodis said.

The advent of the China-Europe-China service brings the company’s total investment in its own-controlled network to €70m as more than 400 flights have been completed across Asia, Europe, North and Latin America to date.

“Among the customers requiring such a service are, in particular, a European auto manufacturer equipping its plant in China with sub-assembly parts,” Geodis said.

The company added that tech firm Lenovo uses its AirDirect Mexico service (Hong Kong/ Guadalajara) as well as its weekly direct flights from Shanghai-Amsterdam.

“It is vital for our customers in China to be not only assured of regular capacity but also that their freight partner is controlling the transport service network, including flight operations,” said Onno Boots, Geodis regional president and chief executive for Asia Pacific.

“In addition, we are exploring options to establish a connection between China and India, as well as linking Hong Kong and Singapore in the network. These efforts aim to provide a hub that will seamlessly link with our Geodis Asia Road Network.”

The company first launched its full aircraft charter arrangements on this route in March with ad hoc flights and introduced a weekly timetable in June to meet the urgent need for air cargo capacity which had diminished due to the effects of the pandemic.

DSV expands

Meanwhile, DSV has added an extra weekly inbound departure from Shanghai and a new Hong Kong-Luxembourg route to accommodate “high demand for air cargo capacity”. Both flights utilise B747F capacity.

From October 2020, one of the freighters will be operating on the existing route between Shanghai and Luxembourg – thereby creating as many as three scheduled departures per week and a total inbound capacity of up to 1,000 tonnes a month to and from Shanghai.

The second 747 freighter will operate on a new and direct connection between Hong Kong and Luxembourg. The new route will have a monthly inbound capacity of 400 tonnes.

The forwarder last expanded its airfreight charter network in July.

DSV and Geodis are not the only forwarders to have announced an expansion of charter operations over recent months.

DHL, Dachser and DB Schenker have all expanded operations over recent weeks.

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