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Air cargo under pressure: rising demand hobbled by space and staff shortages


Air freight is straining under the twin pressures of high demand and disruption from lower capacity and labour shortages, as well as various Covid restrictions.

Air cargo executives have cited problems across major hubs in Europe, including Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Frankfurt and Liege, as well as in the US.

“There are different situations at different airports, and handlers have different issues. But there has been a huge upturn in freighters, and passenger freighters, which has caused congestion.“In the US, there is a dearth of warehouse capacity, and labour in some markets. It’s a bit of a bunfight for staff.”

Forwarders told customers were unhappy with sky-high rates, combined with delays. “We are aware that some sheds are moving units to LGW for breaking, then returning loose cargo to LHR, which in theory should help ease the pressure, but in practice is adding further delays”.

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