CEVA Logistics senior vice president global product airfreight, Peter Baumgartner (pictured below) says it has been a “very positive” few months for the logistics services provider, and for the airfreight forwarding sector across Europe in general.
He notes airfreight volumes in the fourth quarter of 2016 showed a global seven per cent year-on-year growth and this was especially valid for the European market (imports and exports), where Germany, the Netherlands and Italy all enjoyed above average export growth figures.
“Growth has been especially marked for the trade lanes of Europe – Asia and Asia – Europe, as well as Europe to North America, and they have all seen a strong upward trend over the last few months,” Baumgartner recalls.
“South American imports are suffering and exports from North America have seen only moderate growth, whereas exports from China enjoyed a very healthy peak season,” he adds.
“What is more, we forecast the trend we have seen in the last few months to continue through this year,” he continues. “Not necessarily at the growth levels seen in the last quarter of last year, but globally at an average of 3-4 per cent.
“European Exports overall should continue to show better growth than North America’s (as we expect the Euro to continue to trade at its low level compared to the US dollar), though North American exports are are forecast to slowly pick up again during 2017. Asian exports will continue above global average growth – again more to Europe than to North America.
“Whereas growth has been positive across all industry sectors, going forward I believe it will be healthcare, lifestyle, consumer goods, fashion and perishables which will continue to show the highest growth rates over the course of this year,” Baumgartner explains.
He says automotive and high-tech will probably lag behind, noting: “There are good reasons for this, the latter partly because of some modal shift but also a drop in tonnages (not in demand) as a result of miniaturisation/combination (several functions formerly requiring different products now being combined in one product).
CEVA’s focus going forward will continue to lie in increasing its footprint in Europe, Baumgarter says. “Our main European gateways are placed in those growing markets (of Germany and the Netherlands) and we have geared our route development organisation to focus on those trade lanes – amongst some other strategic lanes.
“We are aiming to take advantage of the above-mentioned growing industry sectors, but at the same time we want to try to keep a good mix between the sectors, in order to mitigate risks from cyclical markets.”