#05: The Convergence of Air & Sea Freight with Courtney Miller

In part two of a wide-ranging discussion, aviation expert Courtney Miller and host Judson Rollins discuss an apparent convergence of air and sea freight, as ocean carriers try join forces with cargo airlines and even build wholly-owned air fleets. They also talk about e-commerce’s impact on air cargo as giants like Amazon, JD.com, and MercadoLibre buy and lease freighter aircraft.

Courtney shares his views on how a global pilot shortage will affect air cargo, and how passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft will compete with new-build freighters. The two also discuss how geopolitical changes, food shortages, a scaling-back of globalization, and other factors will impact the freight industry over the coming decade.  

What You Will Learn In This Episode

  • Why ocean carriers are pushing into air transport, and its implications for shippers
  • How e-commerce has impacted express cargo carriers and B2C delivery expectations
  • Why Amazon views its air network as its “great defect”
  • How capacity purchase agreements are used to manage pilot wages
  • The importance of matching human expertise with rich data to maximize profitability

Money Quotes

“Increased volumes do not proportionally lead to increased air traffic in the e-commerce market. The more volume you have, the easier it is to pre-position and utilize more economical modes of transportation like rail and maritime.” [10:25 – 10:49]

“You really need to leverage people, the knowledge that is within your organization. Use the specific experience and knowledge that exists around the industry. Your edge comes from the knowledge of your people.” [27:54 – 28:15]