The Zurich-based carrier reports strong growth of its pharma business on flights across the Atlantic. In some local markets, growth rates have reached 40 percent compared to the already
excellent figures of the previous year.
However, despite the strong development of this segment, Swiss WorldCargo’s business in The Americas has also been affected by the current market weakness, although to a lesser extent than some competitors.
Hendrik Falk’s feelings on the matter highlight the two opposing factors. On the one hand, pharma transports are going through the roof on most of Swiss WorldCargo’s flights to and from The
Americas. On the other, says the Head of Cargo USA West, South and Latin America, general cargo volumes have experienced a small decline in recent months compared to the prior year. The
encouraging news is that this decline is limited to single digits in percentage terms, on the back of a very strong 2018. In fact, measured against the general trend in the cargo industry, Swiss
WorldCargo has continued to position itself well in spite of challenging conditions.
And another thoughtful factor is brought to the table by Mr. Falk when discussing figures: If 2018 is taken as a yardstick of a successful year, it must not be forgotten that it was a record year which will be hard to beat.
No main decks, less risks
The carrier has been hit less hard also because it operates only passenger aircraft, with no freighters in its fleet. While Swiss WorldCargo moves its fair share of general cargo, its concentration on special products and high-quality service orientation have helped contain any ambitions to introduce freighters into its network. This product philosophy limits the risk of unprofitable flights at times when market demand for general cargo is trending south. However, it should not be forgotten that the passenger variant of the B777 is able to at times accommodate up to 40 tons per flight in its cargo holds, in fact resembling small freighters.
Split of responsibilities
Hendrik Falk is a true cargo veteran, having held several leading positions in the air freight sector around the world. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia and since 2017, is responsible for Swiss WorldCargo’s business in the western and southern part of the USA, including the entire Latin American region. His New York-based counterpart and colleague Michael Ganz acts as Head of Cargo Northeast USA & Canada.
As already announced, Swiss will expand its fleet during the first quarter of 2020 by welcoming two additional Boeing 777-300ERs at their Zurich hub. This will lead to some network adjustments on routes across the Atlantic with the Triple Sevens replacing or complementing services previously rendered by smaller A330 or A340 aircraft. This way, Swiss WorldCargo will increase its capacity offer in some markets, which will be the case in Miami, Florida for instance.
Cancun open for exports soon
Mexico, particularly Cancun, is another market where the Swiss carrier will soon be capturing new market shares and upping its sales efforts. “There, we expect to capitalize on the thriving perishables business, flying large quantities of fresh produce and other goods from their Yucatan origin to European consumer markets,” states Mr Falk. The city is served by Swiss subsidiary Edelweiss, deploying an A340 pax aircraft three times weekly to the Mexican city.
The perishables chain will be kicked off in the beginning of December when Swiss WorldCargo expects to open Cancun for exports. Until now, neither the Swiss airline nor its daughter Edelweiss were active in exporting from this market, allowing only imports to be brought to the Yucatan Peninsula. A situation that will end soon.
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