AMI Sees Airfreight Resurgence and New Opportunities

Air Menzies International News Bulletin

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The South African division of AMI – the world’s largest airfreight and express wholesaler serving only the forwarding industry – saw 2017 start slowly, and end in a roar . . . the positive trend is continuing into 2018.

A general bounce in world trade saw stronger volumes in the second half of 2017 than for the previous 7 years. Capacity crunches resulted; backlogs became commonplace, and market rates on some trade lanes soared. Many shippers and agents were caught out: “But AMI was able to insulate its agent customers from the worst effects, due to its regular PBs and buying power,” says its VP Africa, Milton French.

Airfreight space problems were also fuelled by the floods at Durban’s port facility, which has been operating at 65% capacity for some months; this led many shippers to switch to airfreight for shipments which were urgent or had specific deadlines.

On the downside, drought conditions in South Africa have temporarily impacted perishables volumes through AMI’s Cape Town branch, which has refrigerated facilities to handle exports of quality fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers from the Cape to many overseas markets.

But the company identifies upcoming opportunities, too: particularly with the political changes in neighbouring Zimbabwe. “The country’s new attitude to foreign markets is likely to generate huge growth in trade from South Africa and the rest of the world, using South Africa as a gateway because of its more developed scheduled air connections.

“With its own bases at 27 locations in Europe, USA, Australasia and the Far East, and partner agents throughout the world, AMI is in an ideal position to service this business from the major markets, and tranship it into Zimbabwe via Johannesburg.”

AMI provides 24/7 online quotes and booking via its recently-upgraded express web portal, including imports as well as exports.