WITHOUT doubt, the poor acceleration of intra-African trade continues to hinder the continent’s bid to markedly increase its global air cargo market share.
Although recent IATA statistics show African carriers benefited from new trade lanes and developing trade links with Middle Eastern airlines in 2012, Africa’s freight capacity outgrew demand and its freight load factor was the lowest of any region by a significant margin – 24.7 per cent.
Acutely aware of the need for action, during a meeting in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), African Union members agreed a strategy to double the share of intra-country trade within the next 10 years.
Their ambitious proposal centres on tackling the main impediments to augmenting competitiveness, such as high tariffs and inefficient time-consuming customs procedures, as well as the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
With its core business firmly in the intra-African sector, Astral Aviation (AA) serves as a prime example of what can be achieved.
The leading cargo carrier in east and central Africa remains one of Kenya’s local success stories – and it is easy to see why, given the company recorded its highest ever turnover of US$13.5m in 2012, a 25 per cent gain on 2011.
Read more in the current edition of Air Cargo News (11 February, issue 745)