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Forwarders take to dedicated freighter ops, but could trade issues get in the way?

This week, DHL Global Forwarding released news that it is considering launching additional dedicated Asia-Pacific freighter routes, according to an interview with the forwarding’s giant’s U.S.-division CEO in Air Cargo News. DHL currently employs Atlas Air to operate 747 freighters that service its Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) route.

With DHL’s move to increase capacity between Asia and the United States following the record-breaking year in air freight demand, we anticipate other carriers may follow in tandem.

Michael Piza, vice president at Apex Logistics International told Air Cargo World it, too, is expanding its services between the regions  – increasing its service between Wuhan and Chicago from three times to five times per week beginning on June 15.

We also spoke to Gary Pippin, senior vice president at Trinity Logistics, which offers a weekly service between Colombo Bandaranaike Airport (CMB) in Sri Lanka, and Columbus Rickenbacker (LCK), carrying mainly fast-fashion products to the Ohio hub.

We asked Pippin if Trinity was considering adding more dedicated freighter services, who noted that while demand for e-commerce and fashion between the two regions is solid, trade tensions – presumably between the U.S. and China – could be influencing demand for air freight capacity.

Pippin said that Trinity’s Sri Lanka – Columbus connection, which it launched in summer of 2016 operates regularly at full capacity. He added, “we are actively looking for an Asia – West Coast solution right now,” but indicated that Trinity Logistics will not be expanding its routes until its sure demand would be able to justify another regular freighter service.

“However, our hope is that once we see these trade issues settle down, there will be more demand for air freight,” perhaps enough to justify more dedicated freighter routes, said Pippin.

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