Welcome to the latest issue of Airline Cargo Management.
In the 2007 Pixar movie Ratatouille, Remy the rat reflects that “the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability”. That wisdom is gained after the rodent protagonist goes on an unlikely journey to become a top chef in Paris. But it feels like it might also have been a lesson learned for anyone involved in the air cargo industry over the past couple of years.
That could certainly be the case for freight forwarding companies, who have faced immense pressure over capacity challenges and have had to adapt to changing market conditions. Our cover story is a freight forwarding outlook (p20), and we discovered that companies are facing the future with confidence having navigated the Covid-19 crisis and positioned themselves to make the most of new trends and technologies.
One of these prevailing trends is the rise of e-commerce, and many freight forwarders are investing in their capabilities in this area. They must also meet the ever-increasing consumer demand for shorter delivery times. E-commerce is a topic that affects everyone in air cargo, and in a separate feature (p26), we investigate how it is reshaping the business as a whole.
We also attempt to look into the future in areas besides freight forwarding in this issue. TIACA director general Glyn Hughes provides an overview of the topics impacting the air cargo industry in 2022 in the association’s regular column (p18), and Peli BioThermal’s Adam Tetz focuses on the cold chain sector in his contribution to ‘Industry voices’ (p16).
In Ratatouille, Remy is only able to achieve his dream of becoming a chef by working with Alfredo Linguini, a lowly and largely ignored restaurant employee. I think another lesson from the Covid crisis has been that closer collaboration between companies can yield better results for all parties. Each member of the supply chain has a crucial role to play in any shipment. Hopefully the momentum gained in this area during the Covid crisis will be put to good use in meeting industry-wide sustainability goals, which will certainly require different stakeholders to work closely together.
Despite our best efforts in this issue to provide a guide to the future, it will inevitably remain unpredictable, as Remy says. Strange things can and do occur – such as global pandemics (and rats becoming chefs) – but with fingers crossed we can now look ahead to the rest of 2022 with renewed optimism. There will be some interesting and rewarding times ahead.