How to handle a weak trade market

Weak global markets are bad news for the global shipping and air freight industries.

Weak global markets are bad news for the worldwide shipping and air freight industries. This is especially true if the weakness occurs in a region like the Asia-Pacific, which has otherwise experienced strong growth and is thought to contain a great deal of potential.

According to a report on Air Cargo World, falling trade in Asia held back global airfreight markets in August, with demand measured in freight tonne kilometers totaling only 0.3 percent higher than in the previous year. 

Meanwhile, freight capacity increased 2.8 percent, causing freight loads to fall by 1.6 percent. In other words, carriers are increasing their cargo space but demand for shipping cannot keep up.

"Airfreight markets have been persistently soft, with a 1.7 percent fall in airfreight demand during the first eight months of the year, as a result of lackluster trade growth in relatively weak markets for electronic products and other high-value goods normally shipped by air," Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, told the source. "There are some signs that the slum in air cargo experienced over the past couple of years may be bottoming out, at least in volume terms, but surplus cargo capacity will continue to exert downward pressure on rates. Overall, Asian airlines are focusing on further growth opportunities, but still face very challenging business conditions."

With shippers facing falling demand and the potential for reduced profits, their only option is to boost the efficiency of their supply chains in order to weather the current situation with as few losses as possible.

How To Create A Well-Oiled Machine

Forbes guest contributor Bob Patton thinks that many business leaders completely overlook the benefits of an optimized supply chain and its ability to assist with economic growth.

"If you approach its implementation properly, an optimized supply chain can help define, recommend and set flexible supply chain strategies that focus on your company's unique operational needs and resources," Patton writes. "It's a big task, but savvy CFOs know that minding their company's supply chain is imperative. They recognize that supply chain optimization, and utilizing the information gleaned from it, can result in benefits such as improved customer service, increased profitability and successful operational launch efforts in new sectors and geographies."

Patton suggests that the best CFOs will use new technology to achieve these goals. An excellent example is a proof of condition service like CargoSnapshot.

Every day, pieces of cargo are lost, stolen or damaged. It is the responsibility of every shipping company to hold themselves accountable for these incidents and work to ensure that they never happen again. CargoSnapshot can help by allowing users to take picture of each piece of cargo throughout the journey. This way, if something problematic occurs, shippers can point to the photos as evidence. 

Posted in Cargo

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