Air travel delays can be national news. Videos of people stuck in line at the airport or sleeping by their gate due to a long delay often receive top billing on networks. Air cargo delays can be just as serious of a problem, although it doesn’t receive the same amount of publicity as when travelers are forced to spend long hours at the airport. Sending freight through the air is the quickest way to move shipments long distances, but that type of travel is not without its problems. Delays can cripple the chances of cargo reaching its proper destination on time. An estimated 68 million tons of cargo was shipped through the air in 2022, and any slowdown means goods stay stranded around the globe. To make up for those delays, airfreight trucking is needed to get cargo from the container freight stations (CFS) to the correct destination quicker than normal ground transportation.
In this article, we’ll talk about the three main ways air cargo can be delayed, what can be done about those setbacks, and how Carrier 911 is the answer to deal with the unexpected. The company can handle the most critical situations with a sense of urgency to make an expedited recovery of your cargo and make up for air delays. It’s always good to have a backup plan if there’s a chance your shipment may be late, and airfreight recovery helps with that.
Why is Cargo Delayed?
To get shipments from Point A to B, air travel is often the quickest bet. But there are many ways cargo can be delayed, from inadequate communication to mechanical issues to security holdups. The three main reasons for the biggest delays, however, are due to weather, labor shortages, and outdated technology.
Cargo Delays Due to Weather Events
From hellacious hurricanes in summer to blinding blizzards in winter, it’s tough to go a week without an extreme weather event causing catastrophic problems somewhere around the world. And it doesn’t take only a huge event to slow air cargo down, as an estimated one-third of delays are due to all sorts of weather issues. Rain, lightning, snow, fog, high winds, smoke, and dust storms may all cause delays, as most of those weather phenomena cause low visibility which makes flying almost impossible. Any delay causes airport congestion as not as many planes take off and land as they do under clear conditions. And even worse is when a delay eventually turns into a cancellation, making an on-time shipment almost impossible.
Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, may bring the supply chain process to a standstill. Winter is an especially unforgiving time of year for air travel. Freezing temperatures can ground planes and lead to the long process of de-icing, which is removing snow, ice, or frost from an airplane’s surface before it takes to the skies. De-icing means more lost time and further disruption to the supply chain.
Integrated Deicing Services general manager Randy Hubbell says de-icing can take quite a while. “The amount of time it takes to de-ice an aircraft can vary,” Hubbell said. “With frost, it can take anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes to complete. In an actual snow event, depending on how much snow or how heavy it is, it could take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. Heavy, wet snow will take about 30 minutes, and that’s with three de-icing trucks working the aircraft.”
Inclement weather is a problem that isn’t going away and is something all shipping companies must deal with. A delay due to weather slows everything down along the supply chain, as all parties must rush to catch up after that. Having a backup plan for these situations is needed.
Labor Shortages at Logistics Hubs Can Lead to Cargo Delays
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated logistics issues for hubs. Airlines have faced challenges never seen before in the past three years when it comes to delivering cargo, as over 2 million people left the aviation industry in the first 18 months of the pandemic. Many of those who left were employed in ground handling and security. Job losses during the pandemic — both from layoffs and from workers leaving on their own — have been coupled with a rapid 66.4% increase in e-commerce over the first 30 months of the pandemic, as more people do their shopping online.
With fewer workers loading and unloading, the results have been as expected. A lack of qualified staff and a shortage of personnel to process paperwork and security checks have led to huge delays. Cargo is stuck on planes as airlines scramble to find workers to unload it in time. The recent January 2023 situation highlights the troubles, as numerous flights were canceled across the United States. Thousands were stranded as airlines just didn’t have enough employees to make things run in anything close to a normal fashion.
The shrinking workforce problem may only get worse, due to so many people leaving the industry paired with how “the consumer mindset has changed” according to Paul Bobson, the director of business development for Omni Air International. Bobson noted that it’s tough to keep up with cargo demand because of e-commerce and the desire for quick delivery windows. “Ground transportation cannot provide that speed,” Bobson said. “Ocean freight cannot deliver that fast. If you are sitting on your couch and want something within 48 hours, only airfreight is going to do it. The demand is only going to increase. But cargo ground servicing has just been decimated. … You’re not seeing those people (who worked in ground handling before the pandemic) return to those jobs.”
Outdated Technology Can Lead to Disastrous Shipping Delays
Many in the aviation industry have struggled to incorporate technology into their systems like other businesses around the globe. Instead of fixing the root problem, they have just tried to slap a bandage on the problem. This was evident in January 2023 when an antiquated computer system forced the delays or cancellation of thousands of flights.
Better automation is needed, instead of some of the limited ways, to coordinate real-time shipments. Without proper tracking software, there are challenges with the parties knowing where their shipment is currently located. Loading and unloading procedures no longer keep up with the demand. There are also issues with struggling to forecast weather and temperatures and how that affects the time needed for airplanes to reach their destination on time. With the weather changing so quickly, technology needs to play a bigger role in planning so that delays are avoided.
“I think if you look behind the scenes inside an airline, there’s still a lot of operational processes that are human beings interacting with a siloed system, as opposed to fully automated business processes,” said Samuel Engel, senior vice president of innovation for consultancy ICF International.
Much of the industry has been focused more on making current systems more modern instead of embracing what would be a more productive digital transformation. Too much time can be spent tied up in paperwork, and the lack of real-time visibility adds to the delivery times. If one system fails, there is nothing to take its place, and the problems mount. Until aviation technology can keep up, problems will continue for those who haven’t embraced the future.
“The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce growth by 5-10 years,” Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport VP of airline relations and cargo service development Milton de la Paz said. “But the pandemic exposed a lot of deficiencies in cargo handling. In the U.S., cargo handling is done the way our grandfathers did it. You’re still seeing forklifts moving things around airports. … The pandemic shone a light on (air cargo). It exposed us in different ways.”
When Faced With Cargo Delays, Shippers Turn to Expedited Airfreight Trucking
Delays can devastate a business. But there are solutions. Expedited airfreight trucking is a system to get your goods where you want them to go as rapidly as possible once they recovered from the airport or CFS stations. The software-enabled programs provide technology that automates paperwork and lead to more efficient operations. Working with Carrier 911, which partners with Turvo, is an answer to fixing the calamities that weather, understaffing, and outdated technology cause. All stakeholders receive real-time visibility to follow the shipment from start to finish and are alerted when issues arise. Expedited airfreight trucking means that cargo may be located at any time of the day or night to get the process moving again to ensure the shipment is delivered to the customer on time. Real-time visibility helps the parties make adjustments when needed. Delays are no longer insurmountable problems.
Shippers need alternate ways to get their cargo to the right place when delays happen. Expedited airfreight recovery uses an agile team of specialists who take a bad situation and provide solutions. Complete visibility means real-time answers to combat the long delays that occurred during airfreight movement. Airfreight trucking deals with documentation to get the goods recovered from the airport and to the proper destination as quickly as possible.
There is no getting around some of the long waits that occur from moving goods through the air, but Carrier 911 teams with Turvo so that complete freight visibility is always ready, and ensures that goods still get to the customer expeditiously.
When Faced With Airfreight Emergencies, Turn to Carrier 911 For On-Demand Airfreight Trucking
The three main types of delays encountered with airfreight can wreak havoc with your shipment, leading to a slowdown along the supply chain. Businesses suffer even through no fault of their own due to these delays. When shipments are time-sensitive and encounter a delay, only rapid delivery saves the day.
The time is right to reach out to Carrier 911 to alleviate these issues and help streamline your deliveries. Carrier 911 focuses on the urgency of the situation to provide expedited recovery of air cargo directly from airline facilities and CFS stations to get your shipment on the way faster with its extensive network of drivers. Its expedited on-demand airfreight trucking team is used to overcoming crises to recover your shipment and get to its proper pace as quickly as possible. Their experts deal with all types of delays and are experienced in knowing how to handle each unique situation to ensure customer service doesn’t suffer. They always have the proper documentation ready to avoid more wasted time and successfully navigate the complex recovery process. Visit their site to see how it can help.