Insights into the Asia Update Conferences Global Ocean & Air Freight

On July 28 and August 4 our MII community as well as other interested shippers from all over the world met for our Asia Online Update Conferences on global ocean and air freight.

Our first Asia conference on global ocean freight, which we organized together with Transporeon Singapore last year, was very well received that is why we had decided to make it a regular Transporeon and Tim Consult event.

Due to the Coronavirus risks we decided to make it a summer event this year, switching to online versions.

The almost 110 participants to the Global Air Cargo Conference and more than 90 participants to the Global Ocean Transport were provided with insights into the Asian air freight and ocean freight markets.

We have asked Christoph Bruns, Manager of MII Global Air Cargo, and Clemens Schapeler, Manager of MII Global Ocean Transport to give us a short report on this year’s Asia Conferences. You can read their answers below:


Last year you have realized your first Asia Update Conference for global ocean transport. What prompted you to offer an additional conference for global air freight this year?

Clemens Schapeler: As it was our first Asia conference last year and our first cooperation with Transporeon Singapore we decided to start small. The conference was very well received and the cooperation with our colleagues more than perfect. That is why we decided to expand into the air freight market.

Christoph Bruns: Thanks to our colleagues from Transporeon Singapore we are close to the market and can reach many shippers in Asia and Europe with our conferences. Alongside with the USA, Asia is an important market for shippers around the world and one of the key markets in the air cargo sector. As it is our goal to inform shippers as best as possible about current market developments this format seems logical to us.


In times of Corona, conferences are a real challenge. How do you deal with this?

Clemens Schapeler: In a nutshell, we meet online. Originally our Asia Update Conference was planned for February in Singapore. We cancelled it due to the Coronavirus risks. Since that time, we have realized all our conferences online. So, we are used to it know.

Christoph Bruns: The expert content is as valuable as usual for our participants. Nevertheless, they are missing the intensive exchange among each other – a real value-add of our conferences. Hopefully, we will meet in Singapore again for next year’s Asia Update Conferences.


For your conferences you have monitored current developments and market forces. What are the main factors influencing the Asian air cargo and ocean freight market at present?

Christoph Bruns: The aviation sector has been most affected due to the supply and demand situation. Travel bans and lockdowns grounded passenger aircrafts while they are usually providing a high share of capacity for cargo transportation, especially in Asia. They were replaced by freighters or passenger freighters – the new phenomenon. The capacity shrank while short term demand peaked for PPE and other commodities. An unfavorable situation!

Clemens Schapeler:  The China – US trade conflict, production movements to Vietnam, the lockdown especially in India, African swine flu and the resulting boom of meat imports to China – the ocean freight market is characterized by a very complex mosaic of many impact factors at present. In addition, concerns about US tariffs currently predominate and Covid 19 is no longer the only top challenge to cope with.


Since the beginning of the year, the transport world has been turned upside down by the Coronavirus. How do you currently assess the impact?

Christoph Bruns: The air cargo world is still in crisis mode. Airlines are directly dependent on government decisions like travel bans or lockdowns. Furthermore, passenger travel demand has a vital influence on the situation. As long as passenger travel is not revived, the Asian air cargo market will have to struggle further.

Clemens Schapeler: On the ocean freight market, the situation is still worrying but it is less dramatical than in air cargo. There has not been any effect comparable to the loss of passenger fleet belly capacity. Ocean freight is primarily affected by slumps in demand and voided sailings as a reaction of carriers.


What do you recommend to globally operating shippers?

Christoph Bruns: We have no general recommendations, as we observe a high divergence between regions and trades. A success factor in Asia may be a disadvantage in other areas of the world. Shippers need to evaluate their own business and requirements and to work constructively with their logistics service providers. Facing the Coronavirus challenges, it has become even more important for shippers to consider carefully which approach is the right one for their individual supply chain needs and organizational setup. It is also worth paying close attention to their company’s requirements when choosing service providers, airports and corridors to mention only some factors.

Clemens Schapeler: We recommend our clients to regularly reassess the situation and to decide if measures put in place in reaction to Covid 19 are still the best approach or if there is a need of adjustment. We recommend, above all, that they repeatedly question surcharges to be paid and check whether they are justified.


Are there any concrete plans for the next Asia Update Conferences?

Clemens Schapeler: This year again, our participants showed great interest in our joint event. Of course, we are very pleased about this positive resonance. It strongly motivates us to keep to this format.

Christoph Bruns: Nevertheless, we are not able to mention a concrete date. We are continuing to monitor the Coronavirus development and will decide in time what to do.


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