CARGO NEXT: The changing landscape and evolving challenges of the air freight industry

Our 2019 survey, The Future of Forwarding, captured freight forwarders’ market expectations and identified what they consider to be the key trends affecting our industry.

More than 400 freight forwarders in 47 countries responded to the survey with their perceptions of the air cargo industry.

The survey highlights how embracing technology, automation and digitalisation are key trends for freight forwarders, with technological innovation driving positive business impact.

81% of freight forwarders, responding to our survey, expect technological innovations to have a positive effect on their business in the coming year.

Furthermore, the pace of change is accelerating with 70% of forwarders stating that they believe the rate that technology is progressing is faster or much faster than a year ago.

With the importance of technological innovation highlighted, the resulting Cargo Next report then looks at some of the latest experiments being carried out by IAG Cargo’s innovation team.

In addition to exploring these themes, the report also draws attention to the most significant business challenges identified by freight forwarders. This includes 79% of respondents identifying the attraction and retention of talent as being a ‘very significant’ or ‘significant challenge’.

The percentage of respondents in each market saying that talent attraction and retention is either a significant or very significant challenge.

Technology advances maybe one of the factors causing the challenge. Emerging Tech will create more than 133 million new jobs by 2022 according to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs report.

The mismatch between technological advances including automation, artificial intelligence, data manipulation and machine learning and the skills and experience workers need to leverage these technologies is an issue.

Technology cannot deliver the promised productivity gains if there are not enough human workers with the right skills. The continuous change and learning required to keep up with the pace of digital transformation demands employees to have a new-found energy and willingness to change.

In the report IAG Cargo’s own survey results are complimented by data from a variety of other sources and interviews with Neel Jones Shah, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Air Freight at Flexport and Andy Connor, Managing Director, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

Read the full Cargo Next report here.