(Doug Cameron & Jennifer Smith – Wall Street Journal)
Companies are shipping more items by plane to meet customers’ rising expectations for rapid delivery, prompting a scramble for cargo space that has sent airfreight rates soaring and pushed Amazon.com Inc. and others into the airline business.
Global airfreight traffic climbed almost 9% year-over-year in November, the start of the peak shipping season, and rates for airfreight were up 17% annually for the month, the biggest price increase since the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to cargo data provider WorldACD.
The cause is twofold: As online shoppers come to expect faster home delivery of everything from smartphones to paper towels, passenger jets and dedicated cargo planes are picking up more kinds of cargo traditionally carried by container ships, trains and trucks. At the same time, strong global economic growth also is spurring demand for goods long ferried by air, such as automotive and manufacturing parts. Click here to read more.