Panalpina raises own bar with new air freight handling record

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Dec 20, 2018: Freight forwarder Panalpina has handled 1 million tonnes of airfreight in a year for the first time and to set this new record, it was helped by a fashion customer for which Panalpina operated three charter flights to New York. 

On December 18, Panalpina completed its third charter to New York City from Italy and Switzerland in less than a month for one of its customers in the fashion industry. And when the third charter flight operated with company’s Boeing 747-8F, Spirit of Panalpina, landed JFK Airport heavy with fashion garments, it marked Panalpina’s 1 millionth tonne of Air Freight in 2018. 

Lucas Kuehner, Panalpina’s global head of Air Freight said: “With 12 days left of the year, we will reach the highest volume in our company’s history for the second year in a row.”

Panalpina’s air freight record ends a year that has not been quite as strong as 2017 in terms of overall market growth.

Kuehner added: “This was to be expected. 2017 was really an exceptional year with a market growth of 10 percent. We estimate air freight market growth for 2018 to come in at 3-4 percent, which, in absolute numbers, still signifies good growth.”

Throughout the year, carriers have managed capacity well, which led to a lower share of allocations and block-space agreements as well as higher rates to the tune of 15-20 percent on selected trade lanes.

The strongest air freight trade lanes in 2018 for Panalpina are: China to Europe, Europe to China, Europe to the US and China to the US. US air freight exports developed strongly towards the end of the year.

“The disciplined capacity management gave the carriers room to play in the spot market in anticipation of higher rates and potentially more attractive ad hoc charters during peak season. As a result, capacity has been scarce on selected trade lanes. The few freighters that were delivered in 2018 mostly went to the integrators, adding to the capacity crunch,” explains Kuehner.

As part of the Panalpina Charter Network, Panalpina also charters either whole aircraft or arranges part-charters. This happens on both a scheduled and ad hoc basis.

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