The first six months were a good start to the year at Amerijet, but the carrier is also facing challenges that are endemic to the industry as a whole.
Amerijet operates a seven-strong freighter fleet of Boeing 767-300/200 aircraft from its primary hub at Miami International Airport to 38 destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.
Within the USA, Canada and Mexico, the carrier partners with premium regional and local asset-based carriers to provide full truckload, less-than-truckload and expedited services.
The all-cargo airline says it is not sheltered from the struggles that the industry is facing in the Americas region where it operates, and it is also impacted by lower yields, competition and overcapacity in markets it services.
Senior vice president of business development, Pamela Rollins says: “However, our export volumes are up year over year. We moved up into the sixth position for total freight volumes exported from Miami as published by the Miami Airport statistics. We continue to focus on providing the absolute best service to all our customers.”
When looking at the performance of key trade lanes, Amerijet looks at performance on a regional basis and it says the Caribbean and Central American markets are showing slow growth and Mexico’s imports and exports have increased due to the automotive industry while South America is just starting to slowly turn around.
Miami is seeing a rapid increase in the transportation of pharmaceutical and biomedical products the carrier explains, and the airport reported a year-on-year rise of 48 percent in value of pharma shipments in 2016.
Amerijet is keen to tap into this growth and earlier this month gained IATA’s CEIV Pharma certificate, becoming the first US all-cargo airline to obtain the certification, which is set to further drive its pharma business.
As an all-cargo carrier, the company sees growth in e-commerce. “Customers are buying more via the internet, and online retailers are promoting time-definite deliveries. This has resulted in the increase of express logistics services.
“Miami is still the largest air cargo gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. Although the Latin American market has been faced with an economic standstill in countries like Venezuela, and rapidly declining yields throughout South America, large economies such as Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia are showing signs of recovery,” Rollins adds.
The focus for the rest of 2017 is on keeping the customer experience at a high level and Amerijet explains it will continue to invest in the expansion of its fleet and facilities in an ongoing effort to improve their overall reliability and performance.
There are other investment areas. “We will also continue to invest into technology; Amerijet recognises the demand for better end-to-end visibility and transparency.
“Our new website is scheduled to launch within the next two months, the site will provide our customers with a customer-tailored portal offering complete shipment visibility and service flexibility,” Rollins says.
Amerijet has been very proactive in modernising its systems for customers. The company has the capability to connect directly with their customers through Electronic Data Interchange messaging, into their own back-office systems or through Descartes, CHAMP and other providers who use the Cargo-IMP standard for exchanging cargo data, allowing customers to save time, diminish paper waste, and reduce errors and manual processes.
Next year will mark a major move as in the second quarter of 2018 – Amerijet starts operating its first transatlantic service to Brussels Airport. Adding a European gateway is very important to Amerijet for several reasons.
“The transatlantic route is a natural progression of our expansion that started in the mid-1990s when Amerijet opened its first general sales agent office in Europe. Brussels Airport has a strategic location, which allows Amerijet to provide a seamless connection between Europe and Amerijet’s network in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America,” explains Rollins.
But why start with Brussels? “As an all-cargo carrier, Amerijet is able to transport all types of cargo, from hazardous materials, to live animals, temperature controlled, heavy freight, as well as pharmaceuticals and biomedical shipments.
“The fact that Belgium has a large pharmaceutical industry and Amerijet is a CEIV certified airline will accelerate the development of a pharmaceutical trade lane between Brussels and Amerijet’s service region,” says Rollins.
And there might be more connections to follow as Amerijet is evaluating other new routes and additional frequencies, but notes it plans its growth “strategically and carefully.”
Facility enhancement and development is also on the radar and Amerijet says the expansion of its facility is currently the biggest challenge and opportunity.
“With the expansion of our fleet and cargo volumes, the company is looking at various options including a new facility at the Miami Airport that can provide adequate space as well as technology enhancements for future growth opportunities,” Rollins adds.