With rising Asia-Pacific aviation activity a top global leader, freight forwarding specialists offer expert service – and solutions to customs lags -- helping regional clients keep pace with growth.
Booming aviation activity has swiftly transformed Asia-Pacific into one of the world’s largest aeronautic regions. Now representing 33% of the global market -- and worth $700 billion annually -- Asia-Pacific’s stake is set to expand to 40% by 2036. Overall traffic is forecast to double those of North America and Europe by 2030, with China predicted to overtake the US as the world’s largest aviation market within a decade. That growth is fueling Asia-Pacific’s expanding business with aircraft servicing partners, and highlighting the importance of freight forwarding experts with specialized experience and assets to navigate the challenges of the region’s aviation markets.
A key to carriers satisfying skyrocketing demand is assuring the regular, on-time servicing of planes by maintenance and repair operations (MRO), which in turn depend on reliable transportation of parts from original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Never an easy task to coordinate, the shipment, handling and delivery of often sensitive or over-sized airplane components can be particularly tricky in Asia-Pacific – especially given the diverse and at times rigid regulatory and customs procedures that slow importing in certain regional markets.
Despite its increasing consolidation and harmonization as an economic zone, Asia-Pacific remains a patchwork of national codes that carriers, MROs, OEM, cargo companies and freight forwarders must navigate individually. In contrast to more flexible countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, other nations like Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam pose more challenges to freight forwarders. As it is in so many other ways, China is an example of the opportunities and challenges amid the region’s growth.
China’s self-described “socialist market” operates according to carefully set and applied rules, and requires adaptation by external partners. Its labor codes and customs rules, for example, are relatively complex for businesses and importers accustomed to speedier flexibility of other Asia-Pacific nations. “Official administrations often close shop for weekends and extended holidays, halting customs processing,” says Warren Wang, the Shanghai-based Vertical Market Director for Greater China for Bolloré Logistics. “To compensate, service providers to Chinese aviation clients must find solutions to ensure their planes are serviced on schedule.”
Continual communication and precision planning with airlines, MROs and OEMs are part of the answer. Another is the success of freight forwarders establishing efficient and reliable partnerships with local, China-licensed customs brokers to expedite clearance. Meanwhile, transport and logistics experts often establish operations alongside servicing centers to speed interfacing. For example, Bolloré Logistics – an active partner with the region’s airlines, MROs and OEMs – runs facilities in major aircraft repair stations in Guangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Tianjin and Shanghai.
“We maintain response teams in those locations overseeing urgent parts flows from Europe, the USA and Asian aviation hubs like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong,” says Christian Deverine, Bolloré Logistics’ Singapore-based Regional Aerospace Manager. “We organize and plan service to clients in anticipation of local restrictions, and use our specialized, global aviation logistics network to obtain time and cost savings transporting components to China.”
That same strategy is used in other exacting Asia-Pacific markets. Extra time required by local processing and import delays are offset by gains made through highly efficient global networks. Bolloré Logistics, for example, has built a dedicated aviation logistics structure within its worldwide operation, featuring specialized assets and experience in handling, transporting and clearing aeronautical components. It also maintains primary hubs to service sector partners in faster-moving centers like Singapore, where economies of time can compensate for lags elsewhere.
“One of our greatest strengths is having a world-spanning network specialized in aviation that’s directly plugged into local teams and sector partners,” Mr. Deverine says. “It allows us to provide tailor-made service.”