IATA certification requirements are driving development of new processes and equipment to handle time- and temperature-sensitive products
The air cargo market is in a state of flux that reflects its reliance on stable global economic conditions. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International report slower international air cargo activity for the first quarter of 2019, after a moderate improvement in 2018.
Some regions and airports are bucking this trend, so it remains to be seen whether global air cargo volumes will fall by the end of 2019. Nevertheless, it will be difficult for air cargo to continue its trend for growth in the current economic climate, driven by Brexit uncertainties, US protectionism, weaker demand from Asia, and falling car sales.
As with passenger traffic, the aviation industry must compete with other forms of transport when considering the transfer and delivery of cargo. Air transport often has the upper hand when cargo requires special handling practices, facilities and equipment for perishable, pharmaceutical, and even live cargo.
There is a growing air cargo market for perishables, and it is essential to ensure that delicate and short shelf-life products – such as medicinal supplies and perishable food – reach the customer unspoiled with minimal waste and loss.
In March, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) was recognised by IATA as the launch partner airport in the IATA Center of Excellence for Perishable Logistics (CEIV Fresh) industry certification programme. CEIV Fresh aims to improve the handling and the transport of perishable products to ensure food safety, as well as reduce food wastage and loss along the supply chain.
Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd and Cathay Pacific Services Limited also achieved CEIV Fresh certification for their facilities and operations. The cargo terminal operators offer cold rooms set at tailored temperatures for various kinds of perishable cargo, such as live seafood, fruit and vegetables, and frozen meat.
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