The air freight industry has experienced an unprecedented boom since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, there are problems in maritime shipping that the container giants in the ports are no longer handled with the usual reliability and the supply chains are out of sync. We also remember the impact when in March 2020 the container ship "Ever Given" blocked the Suez Canal for several days.
Companies that depend on components from Asia for their just-in-time production have shifted their freight transport to airplanes. Accordingly, logistics companies are increasingly booking capacities with air freight companies for their customers. Shipping companies now also want to benefit from the growing air cargo business.
The Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), for example, has announced that it will enter the air freight business from spring next year. The family-owned shipping company, which is better known for its large fleet of cruise ships, is the world market leader in container transport with its 730 ships and 150,000 employees.
The step comes as no surprise, since the Geneva-based company with Italian roots had tried in recent months to take over the airline ITA - the new successor airline to Alitalia - together with Lufthansa, but ultimately dropped out of the bidding process.
"This is our first step into the airfreight market and we plan to continue exploring different avenues to develop airfreight to complement our core business, container shipping," said Soren Toft, MSC's chief executive officer at Tuesday's presentation of the plans.
According to the ACMI agreement, Atlas Air will take care of aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance and MSC will determine the flight routes. The brand-new Boeing jets can carry up to 110 tons of cargo. MSC is one of the big players in maritime transport, which is the last to bet on the air freight market. Due to the exploding freight rates in the container business, the coffers for investments at the shipping companies are well filled.
The Danish shipping company with Maersk Air Cargo has already announced flights with its Boeing jets between Korea, the United States and Europe. And the French shipping and logistics company CMA CGM has been operating a fleet of wide-bodied Airbus aircraft for its air freight division since last year in order to be able to transport goods from A to B more quickly.
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