Issue 2 2019 - FBJ

Anxious parents boost airfreight volumes

Milk powder exports continue to boost the Irish airfreight market to China, says Ian McCool, managing director of Dublin-based Irish general sales agent International

The explanation is the lack

of trust Chinese parents put in their home suppliers following a number of scandals in which illegal additives such as melamine were found in milk

their children. This is despite the tightening up of production standards in China – it will take some time for consumer confidence to return. IAM represents Etihad,

region for Irish airfreight exports, accounting for perhaps 55% of the total market, McCool estimates. US cities account for six of the top ten export destinations from Dublin, including Boston, Chicago and New York. McCool calculates that around 500 US companies have set up manufacturing bases in Ireland, many of them exporting back to their home country.

IAM itself represents

American Airlines, the leading US-based carrier in Dublin. The Irish market tends to go

from shortage to glut round from about March every year, when the North American carriers lay on extra flights for the summer tourist peak. This year, Ireland will enjoy its first ever direct flight to Texas, operated

by a high-cargo-

capacity 787-900, from Dublin to Dallas. McCool considers that there

Bonded trucks should run smoothly via UK, even aſter Brexit, says IAM

Airline Marketing (IAM). “It’s a bit of a strange one – it’s a commodity that would normally go by sea, not by air,” he says.

powder. People would rather pay for expensive imported and airfreighted powder than risk

feeding something that they see as potentially toxic to

which carries large quantities of freight from Ireland to the Far East via its Abu Dhabi hub. However, North America remains the most important

is quite a bit of suppressed demand between Ireland and Texas, adding that Dallas will also be a useful gateway for the southern and western US and Mexico. At the moment, quite a bit of Texas-bound traffic is trucked to London and flown from there. Air Canada is also laying on

bigger planes on their services from Dublin to Vancouver (four per week) and Montreal (three

per week). In the case of the latter, the new Airbus 330-300 replaces a 737 so as far as cargo is concerned, it is effectively a whole new service. However, once again this capacity will be for the summer only; the only winter option are four times a week Toronto flights or trucking to another gateway. Less encouraging is the news

that Aer Lingus will reduce frequencies on its Dublin to Philadelphia,


St Paul and Hartford and Shannon to New York flights and postpone introduction of a new Dublin to Montreal route until summer 2020, due to late deliveries of its new Airbus A321neo aircraft. For IAM and American,

Philadelphia remains an important destination, its state-of-the-art

hub mirroring WFS’s

pharma three-

temperature facility in Dublin. While the general outlook

Ulysses. Meanwhile, the Dublin Swift fast craft

Irish Ferries direct service from Dublin to Cherbourg is

attracting increasing amounts of traffic and more is expected

as further capacity is added to the route with the introduction mid-March to end of September of the WB Yeats. The number of sailings is set to increase to up to 7 per week. Freight Manager, Derek

Tighe, told FBJ: “Interest in the route has been increasing steadily since its introduction and in this volatile economic climate Irish Ferries offers the only direct service from Dublin to France, ensuring that the critical freight market is presented with a credible gateway alternative to Europe.” He anticipated that if

problems such as those seen in Calais in early March continued, more freight could switch to the direct sailing. Dublin is by far the largest

market in Ireland and, moreover, it is at the heart of the country’s motorway system, making it easier to reach many other places, while sailing times are scarcely any longer than from Rosslare. “Dublin is at the centre of the motorway network and is strategically well located” Tighe confirmed. Irish Ferries is also looking

forward to adding further capacity. A second new cruise ferry is also on order which will be the largest cruise ferry in terms of capacity in the world is due late 2020 and, moreover, has been configured so that it will be able handle no fewer than 300 freight units. It is intended that this vessel will service the Dublin/ Holyhead service alongside the existing

for the Irish economy and airfreight market remains strong, forwarders do face short-term uncertainty, particularly over Brexit, says McCool. Indeed, some have already moved traffic away from London back to direct Irish services where available, in anticipation of potential difficulties in transiting the UK. “We have actually worked

very hard on our trucking, and we don’t think bonding through the UK will be a problem,” says McCool. However, there could be

delays and knock-on problems caused by congestion at the Irish Sea ro ro ports and it is this that is prompting the airfreight industry to look at alternatives. However,

for some

destinations there is little alternative to London – and British Airways remains the top airfreight carrier out of Ireland by a considerable margin.

This can take vans and lighter freight,

will take up

its summer schedule on the Dublin/Holyhead route shortly.

although arguably its

main role will be to attract car traffic, leaving more space for freight on the regular vessels.


Forwarders are already favouring direct Irish routes due to Brexit says IAM’s Ian McCool

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