ESC questions lightweight air freight rate hikes
The European Shippers' Council this week questioned why integrators such as DHL, TNT and UPS are increasing air freight rates for lightweight cargo.
All have announced such rate increases in recent weeks, essentially by recalibrating the volume-weight versus pure weight ratio. Airlines charge shippers on a per-pound or per-kilo basis, but if the shipment is lightweight and large in volume, another rate comes into effect that supersedes the pure weight rate.
The integrators this month lowered the weight-volume threshold by nearly 17 percent so that more lightweight cargo is subject to the higher rate.
'At a time when aircraft are flying with spare capacity anyway due to the economic climate, it seems strange that these companies should all choose to introduce the new calculation now and around the same time,' said ESC Secretary General Nicolette van der Jagt. 'We will be looking closer at this in the coming weeks because my members simply cannot understand the justification for it. Carriers and integrators are free to take whatever measures they think are appropriate to their own business, but this comes at a bad time for shippers and I think they deserve greater explanation.'
|van der Jagt|
The ESC has theorized that airlines and integrators are seeking to better maximize their revenue per payload in anticipation of an expected carbon emission offset trading scheme the EU is planning to introduce in 2012.
'DHL has said that as part of its quest to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020 it needs in part to make more efficient use of cargo space in their aircraft,' van der Jagt said. 'But my members have asked how charging more for freight could make any difference to the emissions of an aircraft? If it were to attract smaller freight units and enable a higher weight payload, wouldn't that increase the fuel consumption of aircraft and also the emissions?'