US air charter firm Navitrans had a challenging year in 2016 but is hopeful a move into the perishables market and a global focus will lead to a better 12 months in 2017.
The company operates a round-the-world freighter service connecting the US, Europe and China, which chief executive officer, Shen Hong (pictured above) says came under pressure in terms of rates and volumes last year.
“The year started very slowly in terms of volume, accompanied by very low rates. We noticed a volume increase toward the end of the second quarter (Q2), gaining steam during the third quarter (Q3) and culminating with a good peak season, with seasonally adjusted rates,” Hong says.
“We had excellent results in Q3 and Q4. Aside from our share of general cargo, which supported our weekly scheduled flights from China to the US, we moved into the area of perishables, operating full charters during the latter part of the year.
“Perishables have proven to be very profitable business for our company, complementing our scheduled freighter services. As the demand for fresh fruit and seafood continues to grow in China, we are carefully analysing this market to see how we can continue to grow our business and capture a larger market share within this specialised sector,” Hong adds.
Navitrans has a freighter hub at six major international airports where it provides connecting flights or interline road feeder services to all destinations. Hubs include Chicago, New York, Frankfurt-Hahn, Baku, Zhengzhou and Shanghai.
It has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Moscow, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and operates more than 100 scheduled cargo flights a year.
Hong explains Navitrans has, for the most part, been a regional player operating charter and scheduled charter flights from China to and from the US, Europe, Japan and Russia.
But he explains: “This year, 2017, we are changing our business strategy to focus more on global business. Our goal is to expand our global footprint.
“We want to increase our presence by operating charter flights, not only originating in the China trade but to include origins such as the US, Europe, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, and wherever charter demand exists on a worldwide basis.
“We are now speaking with a number of companies who we believe will help us achieve this goal in 2017.”