Navigating the Implications of the Ecommerce Boom on Airfreight: Seko Logistics’ Innovative Strategy


The landscape of global trade and logistics is experiencing a seismic shift propelled by the surging tide of e-commerce traffic. This transformation is not only redefining consumer behavior but also reshaping the dynamics of airfreight capacity worldwide. In the midst of economic uncertainty and fluctuating indicators, the traditional approach to capacity commitments among forwarders has been one of caution and ad hoc arrangements.

Amidst this atmosphere of hesitancy, Seko Logistics emerges as a beacon of forward-thinking strategy. Unlike many of its counterparts, Seko Logistics has adopted a proactive stance, strategically securing long-term lift out of Asia. Brian Bourke, the Chief Commercial Officer at Seko Logistics, underscores the company’s commitment to this approach, highlighting their deals for capacity on scheduled flights and charter operations as a testament to their foresight amidst prevailing uncertainties.

The surge in e-commerce, particularly during peak months like November and December, has posed unprecedented challenges for the airfreight industry. Brian Bourke identifies e-commerce as the primary driving force behind this surge, emphasizing its impact on airfreight dynamics. Notably, the trend of direct shipments from Chinese factories to final destinations bypassing traditional distribution channels has further amplified the reliance on airfreight for expedited delivery.

Tackling Capacity Constraints in China-North America Trade
The China-North America trade route, in particular, faces significant challenges due to constraints in bellyhold capacity. Despite a global uptick in passenger flights during the latter half of the previous year, the China-North America sector remains under strain. With passenger airlines operating at reduced schedules, capacity concerns loom large, especially in the face of escalating e-commerce demand.

Despite the hurdles, Brian Bourke remains cautiously optimistic about the potential for growth in passenger flights between China and North America. Recent discussions between US and Chinese leaders regarding aviation hint at possible collaborations to address capacity issues. The significance of belly capacity in facilitating e-commerce cannot be overstated, as it not only diversifies routing options but also contributes to cost efficiency, a critical factor for time-sensitive e-commerce operations.

In response to ongoing capacity challenges, forwarders like Seko Logistics are diversifying their carrier portfolios. Collaborating with airlines outside their traditional scope, they are exploring new avenues to secure the necessary capacity to meet escalating demands. However, concerns persist about the potential strain on capacity during peak seasons if belly capacity fails to keep pace with demand.

The e-commerce boom has revolutionized the airfreight industry, presenting a blend of challenges and opportunities for forwarders and carriers alike. Proactive approaches by forward-looking organisations serve as a testament to the importance of adaptability and foresight in navigating the complexities of global trade. As the industry continues to evolve, collaboration and innovation will remain pivotal in addressing capacity constraints and fulfilling the evolving needs of e-commerce-driven supply chains.