IAG Cargo has shared its findings from a global survey of more than 400 freight forwarders in 47 countries on perceptions of the air cargo industry this year.

The report, called Cargo Next, indicates that freight forwarders are optimistic about the direction of the industry, and identifies key trends and expectations for the next 12 months.

Key findings include:

  • 55% of participants identified increased automation and digitalisation as the most important trends in the air freight industry over the next 12 months
  • Second most important was the growth of e-commerce (41%)
  • Trade tensions ranked third in importance, with 29% of survey respondents listing trade tensions dampening growth as a significant trend.
  • 70% of freight forwarders surveyed are expecting the rate of technological change to increase in the year ahead, compared to a year ago
  • 81% of respondents expect this technological change will have a positive impact on their business
  • The most significant challenge identified by forwarders is talent attraction and retention, with 79% of respondents identifying this as a significant challenge.

Enikö Matanov, Director of Strategy & Revenue Optimisation, IAG Cargo, commented on the findings.“We are hugely encouraged by the global appetite of freight forwarders to implement real change in the fields of digitalisation and automation. The scope for digitalisation and automation to transform the cargo industry is huge.

“Our work in this area has accelerated significantly in recently years. We are working with start-ups from the Hangar 51 accelerator programme, trialling new technologies and investing in innovation to improve the way we work. We have further developed our APIs, enabling real-time information on rates, available capacities, and routing options via e-booking platforms, customer booking systems, and IAGCargo.com, providing a one-stop shop for freight forwarders.”

The survey offered a global view, with 42% of respondents coming from Europe, 19% from the Americas, 35% from Asia and 4% from elsewhere in the world. A variety of company sizes are also represented in the survey, with 67% of participants coming from businesses with less than 200 employees and 33% from larger players.

Full results of the survey, with perspectives from leaders in the industry, can be found here.