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DHL expands airfreight operation in response to Asian demand

Updated: Oct 4, 2018

DHL Global Forwarding is expanding its round-the-world freighter operation to meet demand growth on Asian and transpacific trades.

The forwarding giant said that it would a deploy a second dedicated Boeing 747-400F — ACMI-leased through Atlas Air — to connect the US, Europe and Asia, following on from the launch of a first flight last year.

The 100 tonne capacity flight will operate Shanghai Pudong to Cincinnati, from where it returns to Incheon, South Korea. Afterwards it will connect Korea to Wuxi, China continuing to Frankfurt-Hahn in Germany, and then back to Shanghai-Pudong Airport.

Meanwhile, the operation launched last year will be re-routed to offer twice weekly departures from Wuxi to Frankfurt-Hahn.

"The division is thus responding to strong growth in demand for air freight, chiefly for outbound services ex Asia and on the conventional transpacific route, fueled by almost all industries," the forwarder said.

DHL Global Forwarding chief executive Tim Scharwath said: “Demand is currently exceeding supply mainly due to the large economies performing strongly.

"On major trade lanes volumes are high, but capacities are low – a trend that will continue. To increase our operational efficiency and to offer our customers the best-possible solution, we thus decided to create further capacities we have direct control over."

The forwarder said that increasing demand for airfreight capacities on Asian routes is fueled by all major industries, but specifically China’s electronics, electric motors, electrical and mechanical appliances as well as medical equipment companies are bolstering demand.

China's main export destinations are South Korea and Germany which are served by the new charter as well, but due to well-preforming global trade volumes are also increasing from the US and Europe.

The positive development of world trade and its continuation is also clearly shown by the DHL Global Trade Barometer.

The index recently increased to 66 points in March from 64 points in January. With an index value clearly above 50, the DHL Global Trade Barometer signals solid further growth for global trade for the next three months.

“The gap between the well-performing world trade with a high demand for cargo space on the one hand, and at the same time a difficult capacity situation on the other side, has encouraged us in our decision to further deploy self-controlled capacity to the market,” added Scharwath.

Last year a spate of freight forwarders began operating airfreight flights as they looked to meet a demand surge. Others expanded their block space agreements with airlines to meet the demand growth.


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