Many shippers spent the past year making up for lost time. Facing U.S. port congestion and production delays at overseas manufacturing sites, more companies opted to move goods by air to keep their supply chains on schedule.
But beyond the guarantee of faster transit times than ocean shipping, the airfreight environment was not friendly to shippers in 2021. Rates remained above pre-pandemic levels while capacity remained tight. Near the end of the year, delays at airport cargo handling operations prevented freight from moving efficiently through carriers' networks.
Air cargo demand is still high, however. Carriers responded this year by bolstering their transportation services and capacity. If travel demand rebounds in 2022 like airline executives hope, additional cargo space will return to the market.
Shippers could use the relief, as the six stories below demonstrate airfreight's importance in the face of supply chain turmoil.