HAE Group targets further growth in 2023

0
228


Fresh from celebrating its 25th anniversary, HAE Group is looking ahead to further expansion in 2023, as it seeks to expand into new and evolving markets. Despite the challenges that have and, to some extent, still exist within parts of the Asia-Pacific region, the General Sales and Service Agents (GSSA) has seen a lot of demand emerging from the boom of e-commerce market and other types of air cargo moving to/from China.

“There is significant inventory out there at the moment and we are working on a number of projects to offer new destinations and origins,” Ian Hutchinson, Chief Commercial Officer of HAE Group, said. “We have finalised our joint venture in China and are preparing to launch in January, so this is our key market for 2023.”

Ensuring that they are prepared for the potentially rapidly changing situation in China and the surrounding region, HAE Group has a series of measures in place, including an “existing network of collection and delivery partners.” This allows HAE group to participate in several linehaul networks to/from Asia, constantly sharing capacity updates and rates for up to the minute information. Similarly, the GSSA subscribes to multiple data sources to allow it to spot trends and opportunities.

“Finding the right partner is key but once you have that and can navigate any foreign ownership restrictions, China remains a natural expansion target for any company,” Hutchinson added. “There is pent up demand of a whole spectrum of air cargo that we hope will come back in 2023.”

Read more: Keeping cargo moving in challenging times

The evolving GSSA sector 

HAE prides itself on always embracing change. To remain at the forefront of the sector, when its airline partners needed more options, the GSSA stepped up with innovative new ways to win more business at the best possible yield. “For our forwarding customers, this also meant options with varied transit times, price options and even service options or extended service options,” Hutchinson explained.

“More choice is back in the market now, so we have to be able to offer multiple criteria to customers, which includes speed, service, additional services and sustainable ones as corporate clients will want to ensure what we do and what we offer is best practice.”

With the industry moving into the digital space over the past few years, HAE launched its customer login on its portal, so customers can interact with and enhance their relationship with the GSSA. For airlines, HAE has used this online arena to produce dashboards so they can easily manage the fast pace and dynamic nature of the industry. “The online portals have been an interesting development, but they have also underscored the value of a GSSA as someone who can support the end-to-end nature of our business.”

Digitalisation is key, not just for the booking, but for promoting the activities of companies in the GSSA sector and their importance in the airfreight process. “We have continued and sped up digitisation of our business. Our QMS system now enables us to offshore, extend the hours we can service our airline partners and customers for and speed up how we quote and aid spot pricing for many of our carriers,” Hutchinson stated, highlighting how the company has embraced technological innovation.

“It’s not just about A-B a rate and off we go. Airline products, handling, cut offs, incentives, customer recovery and service are all still needed and not everything can be automated. The most agile GSSAs will be able to adapt to a revised role and how they can contribute.”

Alongside digitalisation, sustainability is playing a key role in HAE Group’s development as it seeks to stand out in a crowded field. With companies looking to work with others that share their greener practices, the GSSA acknowledges that its “shareholders are rightly pushing us on these topics.”

“We believe some of our practices internally on reducing our carbon footprint are key, we are also looking to be an enabler in this market in 2023, as we are working on partnering with a solutions provider who can facilitate carbon offset programmes,” Hutchinson said, citing how “there is no one doing this in a verified manner in our market at the moment.”

Read more: La dolce vita for HAE Group

Industry pressures 

Fortunately HAE has been shielded from much of the disruption the industry has experienced in recent years, as many of its partners are freighter operators, HAE Group worked to keep vital supply chains open. “We tripled our charter activity to include areas where there was no service. Yields were up significantly on a global scale by over 30%. While actual activity slightly declined or remained flat in terms of air waybills, the value and size of shipments were significantly up,” Hutchinson said.

Customer relations played a key role in HAE’s continued success and development over the past few years, with the GSSA having invested a substantial amount of time and effort in its marketing, so those interested would be aware of what they airline partners could do for customers.

However, despite HAE’s success in recent years, there are unavoidable challenges hitting all aspects of the airline industry, and other sectors around the globe. “Demand does seem to be slowing. With some yields in decline, we are focusing on activity so quotes, shipments and volume. We have some niche markets that have not experienced this decline but maintaining activity is key.”

“Inflationary pressures are all over our industry, as airlines and GSSA companies attempt to ramp up their staff numbers again. Our attrition rate is reasonably stable,” Hutchinson stated. “We have to be agile and we are not immune to the same pressures as everyone else. As global cargo yields decline, we will need to be as efficient as possible to remain competitive in the workplace.”

“There are functions that used to be done in country that our systems now allow us to do offshore. This helps us focus on the commercial activity in country and our offshore team manage our operations. This evolution has allowed us to work 24/7 for track, trace, follow up and administration. It has actually improved productivity.”