Demand for Road feeder services (RFS) is increasing in a competitive air cargo landscape though there’s a long road ahead on which to tackle capacity and driver challenges.
Wallenborn is still grappling with the impact of the pandemic, but its RFS business, which comprises 56% of its overall business, is steadily gaining ground.
In 2021, the company carried out 688,000 air cargo RFS shipments and carried over 5.5m tonnes.
The company’s RFS air cargo volumes in the first five months of 2022 were down approximately 5% compared with the same period in 2021, says Jason Breakwell, commercial director at Wallenborn. In comparison, 2021’s volumes were up 15% on 2020.
However, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and the UK have performed well as RFS export markets from Europe, he explains.
“Exports from Europe and most of the major export markets are performing really well. There are still limited transport options from Italy, France, Scandinavia and the UK to Asia Pacific and China, which is why there’s higher demand for RFS.
“I don’t think we’re going to see a significant increase this year in passenger flights from those countries to China.
“Whereas there is good connectivity from the Benelux and from Germany to and from China. Consequently, there’s less demand for export RFS from those countries.”
Wallenborn has seen a “substantial rebound” in automotive, fashion, healthcare and high tech this year. The company has gained new e-commerce customers, while old customers have simultaneously launched new e-commerce routes.
Although flights are slow to come back to parts of Asia Pacific because of Covid restrictions, RFS demand is being driven by more transatlantic passenger flights, especially to and from the Middle East, and to and from the UK, says Breakwell.
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Pilot study aims to close RFS visibility gap
Cross-stakeholder organisation and IATA interest group Cargo IQ has initiated a pilot study to improve road feeder services (RFS) shipment speed and visibility.
The study, involving Emirates Airlines, Jan de Rijk, and software company CargoHub, will trial Cargo iQ’s new RFS messaging standards, which aim to close the communication gap between truck drivers, trucking company’s head office, and airlines.
CargoHub has provided a Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) platform, which provides transparent and predictable information on truck movements to handling agents and/or airlines and provides capacity and cargo availability information to trucking companies to minimise loading and unloading times.
With the creation of the data model to enable communication between the trucking CDM platform and the airlines, stakeholders can plan and monitor the transportation status of their shipments combined with all related truck movement information, whether messaging or API technology is being used.
“Cargo iQ is setting the milestone requirements for status updates, indicating which messages the trucking companies have to send, and CargoHub will standardize the content of the messages by ‘translating’ it for the airlines,” said Lothar Moehle, executive director, Cargo iQ.
Proud to support the importance of RFS proces at airports with the Single Window CDM platform developed by CargoHub. Increasing transparency and predictability on truck movements to handling agents and/or airlines and sharing capacity and cargo availability information to trucking companies to minimize loading and unloading times.
Raoul Paul | CEO CargoHub