Global insight

Shippers take the plunge with Asian sea-air switch

Shippers take the plunge with Asian sea-air switch

A LIVE cargo bookings and pricing website is seeing a substantial increase in the volume of sea-air shipments moving from Asia to the Middle East, Europe and the USA, writes Nigel Tomkins.

Online-bookings cost less than half the price of airfreight – whilst being twice as quick as ocean transit times.

Aeromar, a Far East/Middle East transport specialist, says there has been a significant increase in the volume of goods carried this year from south-east Asia, using ocean vessels from south China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and southern India to Dubai – and then air services to Europe and North America.

Rates, sailings and bookings are easily found live on-line.

The company says its website makes searching for a rate, finding a vessel, obtaining a confirmed booking in less than 90 seconds, is currently the easiest way to ship cargo.

Riszard Rezpa, the company’s head of operations in Dubai, says the upturn in traffic is attributed to a combination of things, including the firming up of air-cargo rates from Asia.

Sea-air is 50 per cent cheaper than airfreight

“This is making sea-air on average 50 per cent less than pure air cargo movements to major European airports.

“For larger shipments from south China we offer U$1.15 per kilo, including fuel and security.”

Apart from the low prices, customers are seeing the benefits of the transparency of easy pricing and booking.

“We put our best rates in the window live on-line. We do not issue quotations, produce Excel sheets, etc,” Rezpa stresses.

“You do not need to ‘phone a salesman to get a quote, or make a booking.

“Customers are starting to appreciate that putting this on line makes life so much easier for them.”

The company’s offices in Dubai, Dusseldorf and Hong Kong can help with more complex transport arrangements. “But for minor issues, just let technology do the work,” he urges.

The latest sea-air solution is driven in part by the rapid growth of flights out of the Emirates region in the last few years.

“For example, there are now three flight [options] a day to Dublin, from south China. In addition, it’s only a 15-day journey compared with, at best, 35 by ocean vessel.

A good example is a recent shipment of shoes from Cambodia to Chicago. “Through us it took just 15 days. By ocean that would have been more like 40.”

Aeromar is reached at agreefreight.com from which it receives bookings for transit times, which are fully transparent for different transport modes. This makes it easy for buyers to compare both the transit time and rates in one view.

In many cases this capability has introduced the concept of sea-air to customers who had never heard of it before.

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