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Air Cargo Technology Insights: Advancing Efficiency in Logistics

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

May 17, 2024

7 min read

The role of technology is growing rapidly in all sectors and the impact it has made on the air cargo industry is huge. Technological innovations have transformed how all industries function. The air cargo industry has seen several changes in recent years with the advent of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). They have enabled the simplification of air cargo processes and give customers ease of use. 

Ever wondered what are the latest trends in the air cargo industry? Can air cargo shipping services implement these in their processes to make shipping more efficient? Freight forwarders can no longer function on conventional methods. Agility and efficiency can be achieved in this industry by deploying the latest technologies. This article highlights all the latest trends in the air cargo world, the key technological innovations that enhance efficiency, and the challenges that come with them.

Air Cargo Technology Insights

Over the last couple of years, the air cargo industry has seen several changes. From deploying automation processes, the impact of the rising eCommerce businesses, and the incorporation of solutions based on Artificial Intelligence, this industry has grown immensely. Here are some of the latest trends in the air cargo industry that not only boost efficiency but also help to achieve sustainable goals:

  • Carbon offsetting: Several air cargo companies provide their clients with carbon offset programmes. It allows its clients to compensate for their emissions by investing in projects that aim to minimise and capture an equivalent amount of greenhouse emissions. Such a strategy enables them to neutralise the harmful environmental impact of air cargo shipping.
  • Alternative fuels: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been researching more sustainable alternative fuels. They are looking for fuels that do not require combustion and thus minimise emissions. Biofuels that have a lower carbon footprint than conventional fuels might also be an option. By the adoption of such sustainable solutions, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced largely.
  • Route optimisation system: Through advanced navigation systems and route optimisation software, you can minimise the fuel consumption of planes by choosing the shortest routes possible. They reduce fuel consumption and lower the emissions released. These systems consider the environmental conditions, air traffic, etc., to find the most efficient paths. 
  • Efficiency through technological advancements: Deploying digital technology and data analytics can streamline packing, scheduling, flight planning, eco-friendly operations, and more. 

Key Technological Innovations Driving Efficiency

Several technological innovations drive the efficiency and precision of the air cargo world. Research and development have been going on in several areas to enhance the functions of the air cargo industry. Here are some of the latest technological innovations seen in this industry: 

  • Touchless technology on the rise: The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly revolutionised how the world functions. The need for contactless services has never been more important before. Contactless solutions that involve minimal human intervention ensure to provide a seamless journey with better opportunities for automation and personalisation. Several cargo and shipping companies began launching touchless programmes to ensure that everything was handled through cloud-based technologies, digital IDs. and more. 
  • The use of cloud-based technologies: Over the last couple of years, cloud-based technologies have gained large popularity and they have been progressively taking over the conventional systems. The primary reason for their popularity is their data security and privacy. They also enable quicker, more secure, and safer transmission of data in real-time. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also been combined with cloud-based technologies to make the processes more precise and smoother. These have ensured that inconsistency and inaccuracy can be minimised, without human intervention.
  • Predictive Maintenance: It is noticed that predictive maintenance is also very advantageous for the air cargo world. It is simply the use of information gathered through sensors and other logs to forecast maintenance needs in advance. It also helps air cargo companies save time and manage their schedules in advance, enabling efficient planning. Using tools employing Machine Learning (ML), patterns can be found and recognised. It helps you transform the supply chain as it allows you to have an idea well in advance.
  • Sustainable solutions: Digital solutions have tremendously risen in popularity and many companies have adopted them in the last few years. They enable ecological sustainability in all industries and air cargo is no exception. The air cargo world has set its target to achieve zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, by achieving development in areas like Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). There is research on sustainable packaging alternatives as well to minimise the use of plastic and other non-degradable items.

Potential Future Impact of Technological Innovations

The world is an extremely dynamic place and with the shifts in the trends seen in technology, several changes are to come in 2024. Several macroeconomic factors have posed large challenges in 2023 and the demand has sunk substantially. Despite the fall in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) from 2022, the industry saw a huge rise in demand in the second half of 2023. The Latin American regions have seen a yearly growth in CTKs and the African region exceeded their pre-COVID-19 freight transport. 

The future appears exceptionally promising with the deployment of several new technologies. The industry reports state that the air cargo market will only grow in 2024. The soaring demand for eCommerce business and the rapid expansion of air freight are only increasing. The sustainable practices largely minimise the carbon footprint of the air cargo industry and are also nicely aligned with the environmental goals. The introduction of robotics, automation, the Internet of Things, and digitisation have empowered control and visibility in the air cargo processes. 

The entire journey of the air shipping industry is slowly embracing trends and innovations that are crucial for the ever-changing and growing landscape of the air cargo world. These innovations and advancements will improve precision, efficiency, agility, profits and boost sustainability goals.

Challenges Associated with Implementing New Technologies in Air Cargo

The technological advancements are largely contributing to the expansion of the air cargo industry. Sustainability has rolled out as a prominent topic in the market with the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). It has brought about considerable progress in this industry. Despite all of these noteworthy achievements, the air cargo world is certainly not without its challenges. The major challenges include:

  • Cybersecurity storms: The risk of cyberattacks is a challenging issue and this industry faces a large risk of these attacks. The difficulty lies in finding secure solutions to minimise this threat. The instability in this industry can be substantial due to the increased risk of cyberattacks.
  • Geo-political instability: Geo-political instability directly influences the operations of the air cargo world. The constantly changing political landscapes, tensions in trade, and rising conflicts can put forth several uncertainties in the supply chain. 
  • Sustainability for the environment: The sustainability goals in the air cargo industry have become the central focus. It is driven by the recognition of the aviation industry’s contribution to the increase in carbon emissions. The key challenge to tackle this issue lies in the fact that entirely avoiding these emissions is not possible as of now as the air cargo world runs on fossil fuels.


Air cargo shipping has been on the rise for the past few years owing to the increase in eCommerce businesses. As much as air shipping has improved the reliability, efficiency, and security of deliveries in the logistics world, it is facing so much challenges as well. This industry has been growing largely in the last couple of years and they have adopted modern technological solutions to improve their processes. With the increasing awareness of protecting the environment, sustainability has taken the center focus of this industry. The introduction of route optimisation, SAFs, and digitisation, have largely helped in achieving sustainability goals. 

Air cargo shipping services like Shiprocket’s CargoX greatly use the latest technologies in their operations to bring about speed and accuracy.  They provide seamless logistics solutions for bulk shipments. They help businesses make the process easy and efficient. With CargoX, you get quick quotes, 24-hour pickups, and digital workflows. They also ensure transparency, reliability, and quick delivery across over 100 countries. Their services include high service level agreement (SLA) compliance, a vast worldwide network, and tailor-made shipping plans, catering to diverse business needs without weight restrictions and hidden charges.

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