It is a manufacturing sector that, perhaps above all others, needs air cargo. High-technology components and goods meet all the key criteria for cargo that absolutely has to move by air: high value, fragile and requiring fast, time-definite delivery.
Experts say trends in high tech manufacturing and the continuing economic explosion in Asia portend rapid growth in technology air shipping.
High-technology components and goods meet all the key criteria for cargo that absolutely has to move by air: high value, fragile and requiring fast, time-definite delivery.
Experts say trends in high tech manufacturing and the continuing economic explosion in Asia portend rapid growth in technology air shipping:
“It will definitely grow” says Stephen Wong, Cathay Pacific Airways’ North America cargo manager.
That would be great news for an air cargo industry that feasted on the explosion in shipping created by the buildup of the Internet in the 1990s and, don’t forget, the Y2K preparations.
But expedited industry experts say technology shipping fundamentals now are more solid, built not merely on a get-it-there-yesterday mentality but on more sophisticated supply chains pieced together to account for the economic value of the goods being carried and the markets they are reaching.
The technology industry is at the forefront of global manufacturing trends, with creation of components outsourced to far-flung vendors and trade globalization as interwoven to strategy as silicon is to semiconductors.
Technology companies are warehousing as few components as possible, relying instead on air cargo operators to move parts quickly and efficiently.
What Say The Experts?
“Because the technology is changing all the time, you can’t stock it too far in advance” says Wong. “By the time you get to the last component you have warehoused, it’s outdated”.
Adds Albert Yau, Dragonair’s general manager for cargo: “Every big high-tech manufacturer is scattering their factories around the world, so it creates a big air cargo demand. And the components have to be delivered fast and on time, which is another positive factor for air cargo”.
Air carriers and logistics operators in effect become part of the high-tech assembly line.
Most high tech companies are now basing their primary manufacturing plants in Asia, and in China particularly. But many of the components that go into the computers, cell phones and other high tech goods manufactured in Asia come from elsewhere.
“The actual product assembly is in Asian cities,” says Wong. “But many of the major components are still shipped out from (North America). So we are shipping the most important components to Asia for assembly. It is very important to make sure the shipment arrives in good shape and is punctual”.