Challenging times but 2015 ending well

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Business has remained challenging as the global economy continues to prove unstable, but Chartersphere managing director, Paul Bennett says the company has remained profitable.

Bennett tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) that Chartersphere’s first six month profits were strong, helped by the US West coast seaport strike at the beginning of the year, resulting in strong demand from the Japanese automotive business.

He says: “The US port strike offered considerable opportunity especially in the movement of urgent automotive parts from the Far East and March we recorded our most profitable month in the company’s history.”

Bennett tells ACW that the third quarter is traditionally a quiet period but business is picking up again for the end of the year. “Traditionally the third quarter is quieter for cargo charters and this summer was no exception, but as we enter the peak season requests are again flooding in and we expect to end the year on another high.”

He says world events can breed uncertainty, such as problems in the Eurozone economies, a UK referendum on the European Union, the slowdown of the Chinese economy and continuing low oil prices meaning oil and gas projects have stalled.

Bennett says: “Growth within the air cargo sector remains similarly subdued and in the charter market competition gets ever fiercer. The charter market has always been unpredictable and who knows what opportunities 2016 might throw up?”

Being a young company, established in 2009, Bennett says it is looking to all regions and industry areas as having potential for growth. He is specifically looking to automotive parts, food, oil and gas could see recovery if prices rise in 2016 though in the meantime, Chartersphere is working on the energy sector.

Bennett tells ACW: “If as predicted oil prices bounce back during 2016 that could mean that stalled oil and gas projects are resumed and that should present some good opportunities for us.”

Geographically, Bennett says Europe continues to show potential while the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa are developing regions. Chartersphere’s Spanish speaking desk is working hard on expanding into Latin America while in Asia, India and Indonesia are showing a lot of potential.

He tells ACW: “Other countries that look attractive to investors right now are India and Indonesia and it will be interesting to see whether demand for charters increases here.”

Wherever you operate in the world, charter is an unpredictable industry, something which Bennett says makes it so exciting to operate in.

Bennett says in his time in the charter business, he has dealt with all manner of products from gold bullion to camels. Some prove to be particularly memorable, such as the surge in demand for large Boeings such as MD-11Fs, 777Fs and 747-800Fs because of the US West coast seaport strike.

Another one that stood out was urgently moving solar panels from Europe to Japan because the previous shipment was lost at sea.