Fruit Logistica – Part 3: Perishables are LATAM Cargo’s backbone

Tropical fruits, salmon, asparagus, flowers, vegetables and similar temperature critical products contribute between 15% to 20% to the freight carrier’s overall sales, depending on the season. The most important target market is the USA, where the carrier operates a cargo hub in Miami. It is the largest hub next to its home bases, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo Guarulhos. This is followed by Europe with nine weekly services operated by B767 freighters and numerous passenger flights to 8 different destinations.

And that’s not all, an additional route – Bogotá-Madrid – will be offered to travelers and cargo clients as of JUL24. It will be served daily by Boeing 787 passenger aircraft, Claudio Torres Faini, Director Commercial South America, LATAM Cargo, announced to CargoForwarder Global during a one-one meeting at the airline’s stand at Fruit Logistica.

Manager Claudio Torre announced to CargoForwarder exclusively the upcoming LATAM Cargo rotations Bogotá–Madrid  –  all images: CFG / hs

Network expansion in Central America
He pointed out that LATAM Cargo had concentrated on expanding its network in the Caribbeans and Central American region in the past year. Since then, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands have been added to its freighter network, as have Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and El Salvador.

These Central American and Caribbean markets are particularly interesting for the transportation of fresh produce grown and harvested there. All shipments from this region are consolidated at LATAM Cargo’s Miami hub and transferred to onward flights. With the expansion of the network in this region, LATAM Cargo is entering into direct competition with its U.S. peer, Amerijet, which also offers customers a dense freighter network there.

B767F fits the network best
Referring to the uniform fleet of now 21 freighters, which consist of a mix of production freighters and B2F conversions, manager Torres emphasizes that this type of aircraft fits the carrier’s network perfectly. The aircraft can transport between 60 and 65 metric tons per take-off, a quantity that minimizes economic risks. In terms of range, the B767F can easily cross the North Atlantic on all east- and westbound routes. 

Latin American exhibitors were strongly represented at the trade fair

Come Valentine’s Day, the volumes surge
The paramount importance of perishables for LATAM Cargo is demonstrated each consecutive year during Valentine’s Day season, with the latest one running from 18JAN24 to 07FEB24. Within these 3 weeks, the carrier conducted approximately 418 takeoffs from Quito, Bogotá, and Medellín, doubling the regular frequencies from Colombia and Ecuador to deliver flowers to the United States and Europe. This marked a 36% increase compared to a similar timeframe in 2023, states a press release.

Committed to sustainability

In addition to its fleet policy, network and product strategies, Claudio Torres pointed out another focus of his airline: Sustainability. It is based on three main pillars: Shared value, benefitting communities served by leveraging their standard of living; handling resources in a circular economy by eliminating single use of plastics, for instance; and finally, boosting SAF fuel consumption to up to 5 % until 2030. On this subject, LATAM Cargo’s management gives preference to Sustainable Aviation Fuel produced in Latin America. In line with most IATA member airlines, the carrier has committed to reach the net zero target by 2050.

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