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International Air Cargo Companies: Top 10 by Revenue

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 22, 2024

11 min read

For online retailers, it is crucial to have a dependable transportation system to make sure their clients receive their orders on time. As the air cargo business continues to set new revenue records, the importance of this mode of transportation is becoming more evident. Choosing the right air freight carrier is essential to maximise your logistical operations. 

The air cargo industry is expecting growth in the market and an increase in both volumes and rates in 2024. IATA projects a 4.5% increase in air cargo demand in 2024. The air cargo industry is thus gearing up for a leap this year.

Let us explore the top 10 international air cargo companies in the global transportation sector.

International Air Cargo Companies

Methodology: How Were the Top 10 Companies Selected?

The top 10 air freight businesses are usually chosen using a thorough technique that takes into account several important variables. Here’s a common approach adopted by various ranking agencies:

  1. Revenue Analysis: Companies are ranked according to their annual revenue from air freight operations. The ranking agencies collect financial data from sources that are accessible to the public, such as annual reports, financial statements, and market research studies.
  2. Cargo Volume: Each company’s overall volume of freight moved is evaluated. Foreign and local shipments and tonnage or revenue ton-kilometres (RTK) are often used to measure it.
  3. Market Share: The value of a corporation is determined by its share in the global air freight market. Sources of market share data include trade groups, market research firms, and industry magazines.
  4. Global Network Reach: Every company’s worldwide network scope and reach are examined. This includes the number of destinations they serve, the frequency of their flights, and other information.
  5. Fleet Size and Composition: The size and composition of each company’s cargo aircraft fleet are considered. This includes the number, sort, size of aircraft used and the cargo capacity.
  6. Customer Satisfaction: Customer feedback and surveys can be included in the ranking process. This helps assess the punctuality, reliability, and customer service of the company’s air cargo services.
  7. Innovation and Technology: Companies can perform better if they demonstrate creativity and leadership in putting state-of-the-art practices and technologies for cargo handling, tracking, and logistics management into practice.

Top 10 International Air Cargo Companies

International air cargo companies ranked in the top 10 positions are listed below:

  1. Maersk

A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S provides a comprehensive range of air cargo services tailored to clients’ needs. Whether you require urgent delivery, premium consolidation, or cost-effective options, A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S has you covered. The Priority Air Service ensures timely delivery with clearly defined transit times. Premium Air offers consolidation services with top carriers, while Economy Air provides affordable choices. Air Charter services grant you control over schedules, cargo size, and security. Customised solutions are available for worldwide cargo shipping, with round-the-clock assistance and continuous flight monitoring. 

A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S (AMKBY) is a significant global transport and logistics player. Over the last year, the company earned USD 81.5 billion in revenue and USD 30.34 billion in profit. Despite this, its market value is USD 30.09 billion, indicating investor confidence in its future growth.

2. DHL Aviation

DHL Aviation, a Deutsche Post DHL Group subsidiary, operates a fleet of 250 aircraft, providing air cargo services to 220 locations worldwide. DHL Aviation encompasses a group of airlines owned, co-owned, or chartered by DHL Express. It specialises in transporting various goods, including pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, and electronic devices, and operates multiple hubs and sorting facilities globally. In the first nine months of 2023, DHL Group reported a consolidated revenue of approximately USD 67.4 billion, with an operating profit of about USD 5.2 billion, meeting expectations for the period.

3. FedEx

FedEx is one of the most well-known brands in worldwide delivery. The FedEx Express service is present in over 220 international destinations. It offers a variety of options that cater to various shipping requirements of eCommerce businesses. With a fleet of 670 aircraft, the air cargo company specialises in ensuring your products and mail get to their destinations promptly and safely. It also provides customised assistance, expedited customs clearance, and a variety of logistical options.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, FedEx Express brought in USD 21.9 billion in sales, solidifying its status as a frontrunner in the international logistics industry. 

4. UPS Airlines

UPS Airlines serves as the dedicated air cargo division of United Parcel Service (UPS), managing a fleet of 280 aircraft. Specialising in transporting packages, cargo, and oversized items, it plays a pivotal role within the broader framework of UPS, a multinational organisation focused on package delivery and supply chain management. With its extensive network of major hubs and sorting facilities scattered across the globe, including the renowned Worldport at Louisville International Airport in Kentucky, UPS Airlines ensures swift and efficient movement of shipments. According to the latest financial reports, this strategic infrastructure contributes significantly to UPS’s overall revenue. The total income currently stands at USD 93.07 billion.

5. Emirates SkyCargo

Emirates SkyCargo, the air cargo division of Emirates based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, operates with a fleet of 260 aircraft, connecting 155 destinations across 85 countries. It specialises in handling pharmaceuticals, perishables, and high-value, time-sensitive items. Emirates SkyCargo maintains a dedicated state-of-the-art cargo terminal at Dubai International Airport. In addition to transportation services, it provides comprehensive logistics and supply chain solutions, including temperature-controlled transportation, customs clearance, and warehousing facilities. With a revenue of up to USD 16.2 billion and a profit of USD 2.6 billion, Emirates SkyCargo remains a key player in the global air cargo industry.

6. Cathay Pacific Cargo

It specialises in the delivery of electronics, medications, and perishables. It offers supply chain management, warehousing, distribution, customs clearance, and transportation services. With USD 1.4 billion in sales in the first half of 2023, Cathay Pacific Cargo made a major contribution to the overall success of the firm.

7. Lufthansa Cargo

Lufthansa Cargo, the air cargo division of Lufthansa Group, a prominent German airline, provides services to 300 destinations globally. It transports various goods, including pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, and live animals. Lufthansa Cargo operates multiple cargo facilities at Frankfurt Airport, the largest airport in Germany and a key hub for air cargo in Europe. It offers customs clearance, warehousing, and distribution services to streamline logistics processes. Lufthansa Cargo achieved record revenue with an adjusted EBIT of approximately USD 1.1 million in the third quarter of 2023.

8. China Airlines Cargo

China Airlines Cargo serves as the air cargo division of China Airlines, Taiwan’s largest airline and flag carrier. Operating with a fleet of over 20 cargo aircraft, it specialises in transporting high-tech products, perishables, and eCommerce goods. The company operates cargo facilities at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and provides supply chain and logistics services, including customs clearance, warehousing, and distribution. China Airlines experienced remarkable growth, achieving record cargo revenues of approximately USD 4.5 billion in 2023, the highest ever in the carrier’s 62-year history.

9. Singapore Airlines Cargo

Singapore Airlines Cargo specialises in the transportation of high-value items, medicines, and perishables. With the help of supply chain and logistics solutions, including distribution, warehousing, and customs clearance, its cargo facilities at Singapore Changi Airport enable smooth shipping operations. Singapore Airlines Cargo expands its reach and offers clients full services through partnerships with other airlines and logistics companies. The airline performed well in the sector, as seen by its cargo flown revenue of USD 1,060 million

Growth Patterns Among The Top Companies

The global air freight market is anticipated to increase and reach USD 490 billion by 2030, with a 6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2030. The strict safety rules of air freight set it apart from other modes of transportation, and its insurance is less expensive. Air cargo has therefore emerged as a popular option for freight transportation, driving the industry’s rapid growth.

  1. Specialized Cargo Handling

Valuable items like jewellery, prescription drugs, and fragile gadgets are best shipped by air. For handling special cargo, such as frozen, chilled, or temperature-sensitive items, airlines have developed advanced methods. Due to these advancements, the market for air cargo services is expanding and satisfying the growing need for effective transportation.

  1. Growing Preference for Consolidated Air Cargo Services

Consolidated air freight services are one of the primary drivers of the expansion of the global air cargo business. Customers who choose this option get a dependable, reasonably priced, and schedule-consistent mode of transportation. One way to cut costs is to combine shipments with others and send a full cargo load. Due to the availability of a speedier, safer, and more cost-effective option for the air freight of commodities, the demand for combined air cargo is anticipated to propel market development.

Challenges and Opportunities

The air freight industry faces several challenges:

The fluctuations in oil prices have a continuous effect on the air freight industry. This influences the profitability and operating costs of the air cargo company. Capacity constraints are another significant issue as they can cause delays and congestion in the logistics system in the event of a spike in demand. 

A rising issue for company owners in the current unpredictable geopolitical environment is cybersecurity attacks. The whole supply chain is exposed to operational risks due to the constantly changing political landscape, trade disputes, and foreign wars. Given the extent to which the airline industry depends on fossil fuels, environmental sustainability is an urgent problem that has to be addressed.

Let’s examine the opportunities in the shipping sector for air freight companies:

  • Tailored Solutions: Offering personalised services increases market share and attracts new customers. 
  • Prioritising Reliability: This helps build lasting partnerships and increases client confidence. 
  • Long-Term Contracts: Reducing risk is achieved by using longer-term contracts to offer reliable revenue streams.

Outlook For The Industry

In future decades, it is projected that the air freight business will keep expanding rapidly due to the reliance on technological developments. The air freight business is expected to increase significantly and reach an estimated market value of USD 255.63 billion by 2028. The need for timely delivery of costly commodities like electronics and medications, the rise in popularity of internet shopping, and the requirement to efficiently transport perishables are all recognized as contributing factors to this growth. 

The following key changes and trends will result in significant adjustments:

  • Blockchain
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cloud-Based Solutions
  • Predictive maintenance

Seamless Cross-Border B2B Shipping Solutions With CargoX

Start your cross-border business-to-business voyage with Shiprocket’s CargoX to ensure seamless operations at every turn. Their experienced team provides seamless international air cargo shipment. You can take advantage of timely delivery and cost-effective bulk shipments provided by CargoX. 

CargoX offers dependable service with unambiguous billing, complete package visibility, and a vast courier network free of weight limits. They guarantee on-time deliveries globally and have a strong service level agreement (SLA) compliance rate. Easily expand your business with customised shipping plans and flexible courier services that fit your budget and schedule.

Conclusion

The air cargo business is a pillar of global trade. It plays a vital role in international air cargo transportation. In the past few years, the industry has shown rapid revenue growth. Air freight companies provide effective means of transport for your eCommerce business, which is essential for global trade. Their wide network ensures that operations run smoothly and customer demands are met successfully. By collaborating with these companies, your eCommerce business may broaden its customer base and improve its operational effectiveness. This will eventually help your business thrive and succeed in the cutthroat industry.

Is air freight a faster option than other forms of shipping?

Shipping by air is far faster than other types of transportation. Within a day or two, air freight can reach its destination. Air freight continues to be the fastest mode of transportation, and even air routes are constantly being improved.

What are the drawbacks of air freight?

Carrying your products by air has some drawbacks, like being more costly than other options and not suitable for all goods. There might sometimes be delays or cancellations of flights.

What part does the IATA play in air cargo?

The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, is a commercial regulatory and non-political body that oversees the operations of its member airlines. IATA’s main goal is to encourage safe, frequent, and affordable air travel to benefit people everywhere.

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