International trade throughout the world is highly dependent on the most reliable forms of transports. Airfreight has long been a leading contender, allowing us to reach corners of the globe in short time frames and with a reduced risk of damage. However, with a growing concern over carbon emissions and businesses striving to create a more sustainable logistic strategy, the industry has come under scrutiny. Recent research has shown that aviation and the shipping sectors account for as much as 5% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. Other research states that as much as 28.5% of greenhouse gases in the United States come from the transportation industry.

The global price of crude oil has also continued to fall since the pandemic, easing up the pressure on aviation businesses to seek alternative fuel methods. Unlike road freight, the fuels used in jet engines for international cargo movement are tax-exempt, providing no incentive to make the shift. And this often means that the demand for air freight is higher than road freight, which has always been heavily taxed in comparison.

Climate Changes Impact on Air Freight

While aviation transport contributes significantly to the effects of climate change in our time, it is also adversely affected by it. The shifts in normal weather conditions, changes in tides and increase in turbulent storms are having a direct impact on logistic operators’ ability to meet deadlines and the needs of their customers. Over the past decade, many trading routes have had to be changed or eliminated from plans altogether, due to these environmental shifts. And, this is putting more demand on those within the industry to both consider how they will reduce their impact and how their business model will need to shift in the coming years.

How Are They Responding?

Despite the lack of pressure and the overwhelming task ahead of them, many in the aviation industry are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2021, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation was launched to prevent 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon emissions in 15 years. Those countries that have signed up have pledged to cap emissions on international flights through continuous monitoring and reduction actions.

Alongside this, manufacturers are currently seeking ways to morph our growing obsession with electric vehicles into the aviation industry. The E-Fan X project from Rolls-Royce and Siemens is seeking to develop a hybrid propulsion system that can power a commercial aircraft.

Climate change is a large and complex topic to challenge but continual research and the implementation of modern technology allows the air freight sector to make changes that make a difference. At Radius Warehouse & Logistic Services, our freight forwarders keep an eye on the industry and will bring updates as they are announced.