George Edmunds, Cathay Pacific’s GM Cargo Commercial, was invited to speak about a pandemic-free future at an event hosted by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in January.
In his presentation ‘Turning the tide – what will the future of freight and logistics look like in a post-COVID environment’, George identified the challenges and opportunities that will face the industry once the pandemic has passed.
While noting that global air trade contracted during 2020, George showed how it in fact grew out of Asia to both Europe and the Americas, while the reduction in capacity pushed load factors and yields to record levels.
He added that recovery of wide-body air traffic was dependent on the successful distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, and outlined Cathay Pacific’s Vaccine Solution as an example of the vital role air cargo will play.
In the long term, George said the pandemic has shown that the only certainty is uncertainty, which will continue to drive the evolution of the supply chain towards greater regionalisation and diversification to better cope with shock events from pandemics to trade wars.
‘The volatile business environment is shifting the emphasis for supply chains from a focus on lowest cost to robustness,’ he said.
In terms of air cargo, George outlined how following Cathay Pacific Cargo’s strategy of greater digitisation and improved data analytics, in both service delivery and distribution, could help insulate the industry from future shock.
‘We need to be able to harness data to provide real time insight as much as possible given the high degree of uncertainty,’ he concluded.