In a bid to circumvent many of the congestion issues present at US West Coast ports, some shippers have resorted to air cargo in a bid to ensure that goods are delivered to stores in time for Christmas.
Shippers converting to air freight are doing so at a time when air rates are at a seasonal high point of the year.
The issue of congestion will help to inflate air rates and demand temporarily, but it will not reverse the longer-term trend towards ocean shipping, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants.
The growth of world air cargo is said to have lagged behind container shipping growth due to a combination of factors, including the sea conversion of mature products and a higher demand for commodities that are typically shipped by ocean freight.
As shippers have developed more sophisticated IT systems, the shift towards the much cheaper ocean freight mode has gathered momentum in recent years.
Drewry expected air freight rates to continue to rise throughout November, 2014, with tighter capacity supporting stronger pricing over certain trades.
Shippers Switch to Air Cargo to Combat Congestion. (Source: Apparel News)