Optimism is building in the United States and beyond as the pandemic’s might appears to be waning. But the rebound of global markets does come with volatility that’s likely to last through the coming months.
“Even though the disruptions caused by the pandemic appear to be easing in our part of the world, we are still in a very uncertain period for 2022, as shown by the recent series of COVID-related lockdowns in China or the impact of the Ukraine conflict on aircraft availability and fuel prices. Trying to project what new factors will cause potential disruptions two months from now is very challenging,” said Rene Bach-Larsen, managing director of freight forwarding for North America at GEODIS. “Capacity-wise, we were hopeful that things could be easing up in the second half of 2022 but have now been forced to postpone our forecast for a return to some form of normal to 2023. We remain in a very fluid and, therefore, very challenging market environment.”
As the battle for resources continues to challenge supply chains, Bach-Larsen said assets aren’t the only thing industries should worry about. Companies should take note of evolving work-life preferences.
Though office environments and global markets similarly remain in flux, supply chain networks are slowly regaining confidence as the reopening of channels provides glimpses of predictability. Bach-Larsen is hopeful to see more international passenger flights resume operations in the coming months, further alleviating the airfreight industry’s capacity concerns.
“In response to limited airfreight capacity, one solution has been the launch of the first GEODIS airfreighter; the aircraft has been leased for several years and has been integrated into the GEODIS AirDirect global schedule, complementing existing offers between Asia and Mexico or Asia and Europe,” Bach-Larsen said.
The GEODIS airfreighter flies between Amsterdam, London and Chicago three times per week, in addition to two weekly rotations between Amsterdam and Zhengzhou. GEODIS’ entire range of airfreight products — GEODIS AirFast, AirSave and AirFlex — will be offered on its AirDirect flights, providing the opportunity and flexibility to operate dedicated, full-capacity flights for customers when needed.
“The challenges with infrastructure, capacity and resources are something that will not be fixed overnight. We are taking measures aiming at easing the pain points for our customers,” Bach-Larsen said. “The U.S. market demands a stronger focus on digitalization from our industry. The current labor shortages make this demand more pressing. We are focusing most of our attention on automating and digitalizing both our customer-facing and internal processes. We are confident the coupling of better controlling our capacity and improving our processes will continue to fuel our positive trajectory.”
Sustainability is another primary area of focus for GEODIS, as its latest initiative is the introduction of biofuel solutions for its air and ocean customers. GEODIS Sustainable Fuel is an “insetting” solution, offering a fuel switch to all customers using its services irrespective of the mode of transport or trade lane. The solution offers customers the option to decarbonize up to 100% of all their air and ocean movements.
“GEODIS Air & Sea Sustainable Fuel Solution is designed to support our clients in growing their business more responsibly while ensuring harmony with environmental and social sustainability,” Bach-Larsen said. “With the introduction of sustainable fuel for air and ocean freight, which is available to all our customers worldwide, we are taking a step further towards carbon neutrality.”