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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Future of air cargo, logistics is young

2024 appears to be brimming with optimism, growth and confidence for the global logistics and air cargo sectors. As the industry gets ready to embrace the ‘New Year’ with open arms, the logistics veterans are more excited about the ‘young blood’ entering the sectors, taking the industry forward with strategic approach, and out-of-the-box ideas. The young Turks exclusively share their growth and innovation strategies to achieve sustained success with CARGOTALK.

Ritika Arora Bhola & Abigail Mathias

It comes as no surprise that the global aviation industry has resurged with confidence after three years of the pandemic. IATA has commended the aviation industry’s resilience and its innovative solutions to resurrect from not only COVID, but various geo-political challenges. The industry is brimming with dynamism with studies showing that it is on track for a full recovery with the Middle East taking the lead.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) seem to be the strongest in the region with experts anticipating full recovery in the New Year, and continued growth thereafter every year through up to 2040 at the rate of 4.2 per cent. This growth is also trickling down to the wider air cargo industry with belly-hold capacity increasing to reach more destinations worldwide.

In the Middle East regionalone, airport infrastructure projects costing approximately US$151 billion are planned for construction to handle large amounts of cargo and about 1.1 billion passengers by the year 2040. With the recent opening of the Terminal I in Abu Dhabi and many additional airports, KSA’s business for air cargo has also grown exponentially.

When it comes to attracting new talent, the air cargo and logistics industry is dependable one for many young entrepreneurs. Looking ahead, digital solutions, which benefit the cargo operations and airlines are speeding up deliveries across international boundaries. In terms of cargo terminals, the airports have been implementing new and advanced technologies to create smart cargo facilities. These advancements focus on improving visibility and automation.

Looking at AI to ensure smooth biz

Tim Isik, Senior Vice President, Cargo, Etihad Cargo

When we look at innovations in Etihad Cargo, we want to accommodate the needs of our partners and ensure we are the easiest carriers to do business with. This translates to developing our apps and looking at AI to use techniques that ensure business runs smoothly and on time.

When it comes to driving new talent, this is something that is important not just for us but for the entire air cargo industry. We need to look at the role of e-commerce, especially when there is an expectation for daily items be they pharma or from retail.”

Use of technology essential to cut costs

Dr. Mohammed Rahmah, Group Senior Vice President, Ports and Terminals, DP World

In 2024, we will focus on AI and how to increase our productivity. This is because we believe that this is the future. For example, in JAFZA, we are working on the digital twin.

The use of cutting-edge technology offers analytics to help establish efficiencies and cost reductions and serve to increase safety by using video analytics to reduce risks.

At DP World, we are working on developing smart cities. When it comes to the next generation, they expect a lot from the country as there is support from the UAE government for developing tools for the future.”

Digitizing to make processes efficient

Rayan Ebrahim Al Haddar, General Manager, Cargo Commercial UAE and Government Accounts, Etihad Cargo

We have invested heavily in AI and we are the first to invest in Speed Cargo. If we do not invest in AI, we will be left behind. We need to digitalise our systems to make the cargo processes efficient. e-commerce has recorded growth after COVID, and the expectation is more for faster and timely delivery.

We need to promote the industry more than what we are currently doing and need to make it more interesting for youth. The new generation is abreast with digitalisation. We need to give them an opportunity to explore the cargo and logistics arena.”

Middle East fastest growing air cargo hub

Celine Hourcade, Founder & Managing Director

Change Horizon The Middle East region benefits from a strategic geographical position to connect Asia, Africa and Europe. Boosted by the political will to make it a central logistics hub, the Middle East region is the fastest growing air cargo and logistics market and the place to be for attracting budding talent to join the sector.

The number of big infrastructure projects and heavy investments in transport and innovative technologies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman fuel the dynamism of the region and its success.”

ASEAN rapidly growing logistics market

Pongsathorn Sangasang, Ground Operation & Commercial Director, Pattaya Airways

The logistics industry in ASEAN region is fresh and agile in many aspects, especially in responding to changing demands and incorporating new technologies to enhance efficiency of transportation and distribution.

The industry has adopted automation for warehouse management systems and drones for surveying and delivery. ASEAN is a growing e-commerce market, which has necessitated adoption of handling increased volumes of transportation and delivery, and investment in roads, airports and ports.”

Efficiency ramps up in supply chain sector

Soham Chokshi, CEO and co-founder, Shipsy

Supply chain and logistics is one of the world’s oldest industries. But thanks to advancement in technology such as cloud, AI, IoT, and data analytics, the industry has transformed from a cost centre to a revenue generator and a customer acquisition enabler.

The modern technology-powered supply chain industry is delivering never-before-seen efficiencies for businesses across the globe, in terms of cost-efficiency, customer experience, business risk mitigation, and generating new revenue streams.”

Logistics on expansion mode in ME

Arshaq Jurangpathy, Interline Business Development, Fits Cargo Pvt Ltd

With the logistics industry expanding in the Middle East region, those companies adopting technology advan-cement offer real-time information on capacity availability. While logistics have a longstanding presence in the Middle East, there has been a rise in airlines connecting Europe, the USA, and the GCC.

This growth provides us with options to connect our clients from Asia to multiple destinations across Europe, the USA and South America, using the Gulf region as an important transit hub.”

Forging sustainable growth in New Year

Dimitri Arnaudin, Director, Cargo Digital Factory, ECS Group

Expanding ECS Group’s global footprint, while maintaining excellence requires agility and data driven decision-making processes. That is why we are partnering with technology players and building in-house expertise to provide scalable solutions: business intelligence, advanced online distribution channels, and system-to-system connectivity.

We are streamlining processes and providing operational and commercial teams with kits for an enhanced customer experience. This is our way of forging sustainable growth in 2024 and beyond.”

Industry must vouch by digital solutions

Nathanael De, CEO, Wiremind Cargo

I like to think our team embodies more than just startup enthusiasm. With a background rooted in years of experience within airlines, we understand the challenges from both ends of the spectrum.

Risks should be calculated, but progress emerges from the willingness to venture beyond the familiar home ground. Going beyond initial skepticism always leads to learning something that can prove itself invaluable—so the New Year should be a year where digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions make the airlines shine!”

2024 to provide visibility to forwarders

Cédric Millet, President, CargoTech

The emerging trend that comes to mind is the usage of large language models to bridge the widening gap between what you could call the world of emails and the world of digital solutions.

The LLMs can help boost the adoption of new solutions by reducing the time spent on filling in data that has been filled by someone else. The New Year 2024 will witness not only consolidation of solutions, but also provide visibility, driven by freight forwarders, shippers or advanced tech-nology providers.”

Logistics positions itself as vibrant force

Varun Raghunath, Sales Manager, Orient Cargo Agency

The logistics industry in the Middle East region embraces innovation and cutting-edge technologies. Its dynamic presence is evident from the strategic investments made in the region, fostering world-class infrastructure and agile supply chain solutions.

As a significant international trade hub, the region is committed to adaptability, sustainability, and economic diversification. The logistics sector positions itself as an energetic and vibrant force in the ever-evolving landscape of international trade and commerce.”

Heavy investments in digital platforms

Camilo Garcia Cervera, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, IAG Cargo

The air freight industry is embracing a digital future. We have made tech investments in our operation in our handling capabilities by opening a semi-automated premium facility at London Heathrow and implemented a new material handling system to enhance efficiency and automation of handling processes at Madrid.

We are migrating all applications to cloud environments for scalability, flexibility, and data accessibility. In 2024, we will continue to invest heavily in our digital platforms, with enhancements to our online booking capabilities.”

Shift in attitude of air freight sector likely

Vitaly Smilianets, Founder and CEO, Awery Aviation Software

Awery is a software provider of air cargo delivering automated work processes and free information exchange across the supply chain. New Awery technology is under development to meet operational and compliance challenges head-on.

To advocate air cargo to accelerate digitalisation, we launched the first free to use online booking platform, CargoBooking. Awery also attracts young talent to air cargo, and this commitment has seen them winning IATA’s Hackathon contest. We expect 2024 to see a shift in attitude towards digitalisation.”

Time to face new challenges ahead

Suchit Sehgal, Managing Director, MEA Logistics Plus

The air cargo and logistics industry in the Middle East region mirrors its landscape, which is ever-evolving, innovative, and resilient. Young at heart, the industry consistently adapts to new challenges ahead and advanced technologies: the change is through demonstrating remarkable dynamism.

The air cargo and logistics industry is not just about adapting to changes, but is more about leading them. In the New Year, the industry should establish itself as a trendsetter in the international air cargo and logistics landscape.”

Will continue to empower forwarders

David de Picciotto, CEO and Co-Founder, Pledge

As the cargo demand grows, Pledge will continue to develop products and empower freight forwarders to meet this demand. Not only is this the best course of action for the planet, it helps the freight forwarders secure new business opportunities and foster customer loyalty.

Our recent release of Accuracy™ allows the freight forwarders and shippers to understand the data quality of their shipment emissions measurement, serves as an example of how we are bringing clarity to sustainability efforts in the field of logistics.”

Tech innovation for logistics efficiency

Kaoutar Makrache, Founder and CEO, Win Sustainably

Our advanced technology and many business models at the WIN Sustainably and our innovative QALIL App, we have significantly mitigated food waste. By adapting the air cargo and logistics industry to meet the consumer expectations and pricing for convenience, we have achieved a balance that is both scalable as well as sustainable.

This is not only innovation, but also is a necessary evolution, providing that environmental responsibility can align itself with consumer needs and logistical efficiency.”

New Year to be challenging for air cargo

Nisarg Mehta, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Raft

Our focus in the New Year is to scale up automation capabilities, indicating adding additional support for a diverse range of pain points facing freight forwarders and customs brokers in their daily workflows.

We intend to boost operational efficiency by addressing manual, low-value tasks for our customers. Technologies such as AI and Internet of Things heralded a different sort of technological landscape, with potential to redefine what was once thought impossible. We expect 2024 to be a challenging year for the air cargo industry.”

Growth tailored to meet users’ needs

Matthew Phillips, Chief Commercial Officer, Breeze

Breeze remains steadfast in its mission to transform cargo insurance through digitalisation. As we continue to see more uptake of digital solutions industry wide, we anticipate this acceleration to be reflected in the cargo insurance industry.

Central to our growth strategy is the commitment to ensure our technology is tailored to meet users’ needs. This user-first approach underscores our outlook for 2024, where we will focus on implementing fully embedded and digital processes for our partners and customers.”

Committed to transform logistics

Jessica Panigari, Founder and Strategy Leader, Goods2Load

In my perspective, the logistics sector is undeniably youthful, pulsating with boundless creativity and dynamic energy. Its vibrant spirit is unparalleled, exemplifying an unwavering commitment to effectiveness and adaptability.

As I witness the evolution of this industry, I am certain that its energetic essence will not only propel it to unprecedented levels but also spark revolutionary shifts in how we passionately approach and execute logistics operations, inspiring transformative change on our journey forward.”

Solving supply chain challenges key to growth

Megha Palkar, Manager, Member Operations, Cargo Iq

In 2024, our focus is to work with members to create, maintain, and enhance planning and visibility acro-ss the supply chain from end-to-end. A key strategy is to drive growth between industry partners by solving challenges facing the supply chain. This year we are doubling down on demonstrating the value of our membership to small and medium forwarders, handlers, and airlines, through Proof of Concepts. We hope to let our projects showcase the benefits our member types gain through the community spirit of Cargo iQ.”


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