TRANSPORT consultancy Seabury has identified that a "pronounced shift" from air freight to sea freight is taking place led by new container technologies.
"A decade ago, tomatoes were just as likely to be transported by air as in a reefer container. Today, tomatoes are transported almost entirely in containers. The same holds true for numerous other perishable commodities," said maritime advisor Derek Brand, who produced a report on the matter.
The study found that ocean liners have managed to draw the equivalent of 100,000 TEU annually from air freight, particularly, perishables such as fruit and vegetables.
Had there been no modal shift since 2000, it is estimated that 5.4 million tonnes of cargo would have continued to be transported by air rather than sea. As demonstrated by air freight's average annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent over this period, far lower than the 4.5 per cent growth anticipated.
New technology in controlled atmosphere containers, such as Maersk Container Industry's Star Cool CA, has the potential to take more market share away from air freight even on longer trade routes as the technology slows down the ripening process during ocean transport.
"As new trades open up our customers can improve their business. Add to that carbon emissions savings by almost a factor of 50 when you compare air and sea transport," said Anders Gamborg Holm of MCI sales and marketing.
"We have been on the market with CA for five years now. It's reliable and affordable, and we predict it will make further inroads in the market," Mr Holm said.
Source : HKSG.