Figures reveal high air freight demand in Africa

11 Jul 2013 14:51Submit
The African continent is experiencing significant growth and expanding trade. Figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and DHL Express’s shipment numbers show increased air freight demand in South Africa and the continent as a whole during the month of April.

According to Hennie Heymans, MD of DHL Express South Africa, the company’s TDI (time definite international) shipments in South Africa increased year-on-year by almost 20% in April and over 10% year to date. The IATA report reveals that African freight demand grew by 1.4% in April, which is in line with global freight growth. During previous months, however, African airlines’ air freight demand has performed more strongly than the global market.

Strong performance by emerging markets

Heymans says that South Africa remains a key entry point into the continent, particularly for its immediate neighbours, and these increasing figures therefore play an important part of economic growth. “However, other African countries, particularly Nigeria, are also becoming an option to foreign investors due to improved infrastructure.”

He says that at the moment, Africa is only lagging behind Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which highlights that other emerging markets are also performing well. “It is extremely positive that air freight demand in Africa and emerging markets is performing more strongly than other global markets.”

Heymans says that the freight growth in Africa reflects the robust expansion that the region is experiencing, due to the increased demand for oil, minerals, and other commodities, as well as a result of internal structural changes. “Other industries, such as wholesale and retail, transportation, telecommunications, and manufacturing are all playing a role in this economic development.”

A positive cycle of growth

Heymans says that the increasing number of middle income earners and improved infrastructure on the continent will further boost the need for shipping and logistics, therefore increasing the already growing numbers. “Although poor infrastructure and corruption on the continent remain a challenge, we predict that as these issues improve so will the continent’s economy.”

Heymans explains that Africa has so much to gain from improving trade efficiency. “By removing logistical barriers facing trade, the continent can improve its global competitive advantage and is likely to reap the economic rewards of the efforts.”

Heymans concludes by saying that these positive growth figures also highlight the fact that South Africa and Africa are proving to be less susceptible than other regions to the peaks and troughs in the global economy, as it increasingly looks to diversify its trading partners.

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