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On Track: The Future Horizons of Freight

 With Safwan Tannir, Chief Freight Officer

What lies in store for the logistics industry – for 2011 and beyond.

Perhaps few other industries intersect the main global trade issues facing the coming year, decade and even century than freight. In 2010, in addition to facilitating an economic recovery and continuing to seek solutions for more environmentally sound transport, the industry was forced to confront the potential realities of international terrorism.

In October, two unaccompanied parcels on route to the US from Yemen and Somalia via international courier companies were found to contain high levels of the PETN explosives. Significantly, the packages weren’t only found on just freight carriers, as bad as that would have been, but onboard a domestic airliner carrying more than 200 passengers.

The future of logistics in the coming years will, as a result, be less a matter of “how much” but simply “how”. Security will need to be improved, packages more tightly screened and, perhaps even a rethink of domestic carrier use for parcel freight. It’s clear that freight companies will need to work in conjunction with each country’s security efforts to provide credible checks of consignments.

Before the planned attacks, many logistics companies in Europe argued they were already overregulated when they successfully postponed to scan 100 per cent of all shipping containers, but the new revelations means they will mean more checks, more delays – and more costs. They want to combat the assertion from security analyst Chris Yates, who told reporters that “air freight is still considered to be the soft underbelly of the aviation industry.”

On a more positive front, the logistics and cargo industry, regarded as a barometer for the economic health of the planet, has been reflecting an increase in trade volumes, general consumer demand and manufacturing output throughout 2010. The past 12 months have, in that sense, been little short of transformational. There has been an increase in demand for air cargo, land shipping and container freight, all spurred by renewed trade activity – especially with an unfettered wave of good news from China and Germany, and as other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries like India and Brazil continue to enjoy high growth rates and increased trade.



Read more in past issues:-

1. On Track: Eruption Disruption

2. On Track: 20/20 Vision - Logistics at the end of 2020

3. On Track: The Logistics of e-commerce



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