Happy Holidays and see you again soon!

We’re exactly two weeks away from the end of the year, and just days away from discovering whether we made it onto Santa’s Nice list or ended up on the Naughty one. Either way, CargoForwarder Global’s newsletter distribution list makes no such distinction – you’re all Nice in our eyes, and we thank you for your regular feedback, for sharing your news and our articles, and for sponsoring us.

May the future gift you health, happiness and success. Image: AI generator/CFG

Looking back over 2023, it has been a very mixed bag of experiences and a case of same-same, but different. Same-same being the unexpected challenges continuing, with a second geopolitical crisis coming onto the scene at the start of October, just as the market was finally starting to stabilize after months of sluggishness. While the war on Ukraine continues, the uncertainty of how the Israel-Gaza military offensive will pan out, particularly in light of the most recent Houthi attacks in the Suez Canal as a reaction and ocean trade being affected, means that ongoing resilience and adaptability are still required of the air cargo industry. There have been negative surprises, too, in various unexpected bankruptcies of air cargo stakeholders or feeder services this year.

Same-same, however, also with regard to industry image and circumstances. Given that passenger travel has returned with a vengeance, flooding the market with belly capacity, the simultaneous drop in general demand is far from helpful. [Specials, on the other hand, such as pharmaceuticals, are performing better than ever.] Air cargo is therefore normalizing back to the poor air cargo situation in 2019. And that appears to include its image. Are we really going to stand by and let air cargo be demoted to second fiddle again – or, more figuratively – return to being the tolerated uncle at the family party who isn’t taken that seriously? Where did the limelight and cargo hero image of the pandemic go? And are we being adequately represented by those associations created exactly for this purpose?

On the other hand, if we look at the industry buzzwords: Sustainability, Digitalization, Innovation, and the increased collaboration that began during the pandemic, then there were a number of positive developments this year. Sustainability has seen increasing partnerships and movement in procuring and using SAF, for example. Some companies are taking single-use plastics more seriously, whilst others are looking to digital support in their sustainability measures, and getting it, given the rising number of CO2 calculators and software solutions promoting process efficiencies, for example. Digitalization is moving at a faster pace, with greater collaboration within growing cargo communities as well as between software companies. Regarding innovation, there is a palpable tendency to more customer-centric, improved products and services, as well as an increasing willingness to invest in future-oriented solutions such as cargo drones, and in CEIV quality certifications. And there appears to be more focus on young talent and equality, though there is still much to do in these areas.

Last year, we wrote: “The prognosis for 2023, following the past six months of a softening global market, rising inflation, dropping rates, returning belly and ocean capacities, for example, is that the first half of the year will continue in much the same vein, with the market picking up again towards the end of next year.” CFG believes that we can pretty much repeat that sentence and just change the year to 2024, for it to be a correct prediction.

That said, the poll we ran on our CargoForwarder Global LinkedIn page last week, has shown that most of you are positive about the future: only one in eight expects that 2024 will be worse than 2023, 40% think it will be pretty much the same, and almost 50% are optimistic that it will be better than this year. Let’s hope they’re right!

Certainly, CFG will be poised, pen at the ready, to report on developments, your success stories, new products and partnerships, innovations, and events. We enjoy discovering even more about the industry through interviews and discussions with you, and again extend our thanks to all our readers, sponsors, guest authors, contributors, and media partners for your excellent support over this past year.

Our next edition of CargoForwarder Global will be sent on Sunday 06JAN24. If you have an idea for an article or opinion piece and would like to see your name in print, or if you would like to benefit from greater company visibility by advertising in our free, weekly newsletter, simply send us an email at hs@cgofor.eu

Wherever you may be these next couple of weeks – at work, home or on holiday, we wish you peace and relaxation, ready for a successful start into the new year.

Your CargoForwarder Global Team

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