Magazine article Business Asia

Air Freight on Move, Rate Hike in Doubt

Magazine article Business Asia

Air Freight on Move, Rate Hike in Doubt

Article excerpt

The air freight industry in Australia is beginning the year 2000 more positive than a year ago because of a recovery in key Asian export markets, but sea freight is looming as a bigger threat, a Reuters survey shows.

Airlines and forwarders said they expected higher export volumes than in 1999, but they were divided as to whether this would allow an overall increase in rates.

"The first half of the year will be pretty good in the export market. What's driving that is the perishables business, particularly pork. The lifting of the Asian economy is having an effect on the Australian export performance," said a spokesman for Air Express International.

He said Qantas Airways' forecast of an improvement in Japanese tourism indicated buoyant demand from the world's second-largest economy for high-value products such as Atlantic salmon, asparagus, sweet corn and possibly beef.

Demand leading into Chinese New Year grew strongly in January with supermarkets and hotels in Hong Kong and Singapore importing Australian grapes, stone fruits and high-value items such as sugar plums.

The spokesman added: "There's almost been a moratorium on rates in the last two to three years. It's imminent that there will be some sort of increase."

Danzas national product manager perishables and general cargo Mike O'Neil said he expected his business to maintain its growth of more than 10 per cent a year.

One freight forwarder said sea freight was emerging as a tougher competitor to air freight, having improved refrigeration systems, travel and transit times, and undercutting airline rates. …

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