Venus International Transport has shipped 43,000 tonnes of agricultural products during 2018, down from 45,000 tonnes in 2017, through several airlines, most prominently EgyptAir.
Ahmed Fouad, vice chairperson of the company, said that air shipping accounts for only 2% of global trade, against 98% for maritime and land shipping.
He added that air transport, despite its market share in terms of quantities, represents 30% of the value of shipped items.
Fouad said that the company moved 43,000 tonnes last year, after the market suffered several problems, such as lack of space on planes and the cancellation of some flights.
Furthermore, he stated that the market was also adversely affected by a 4% raise in electronic trade movement and the increased exchange between China and European countries, which prompted global airlines to focus their operations there, thus raising the cost of air shipping by 10-15%.
Moreover, he pointed out that air transport companies provide a service to the Egyptian exporter, and should be distinguished by the rapid provision of export spaces upon demand. For example, exporters should be able to seek an increase or a decrease in the pre-agreed upon amounts only 48 hours prior to the flight and airlines should be capable of accomodating the request swiftly.
Should there be no available spaces on EgyptAir, then exporters ought to resort to spaces available on foreign airlines which have scheduled flights. And the third option is renting foreign cargo planes, explained the vice chairperson of the company.
In addition, Fouad highlighted that the company has received the agency of a number of international airlines alongside EgyptAir, which have three or four cargo flights per day, such as Saudi Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, and Jordan Air, in addition to the Italian, Ethiopian and French airlines.
The export season of vegetables and fruit continues for a period of eight months only, between mid- October until May of next year. December and January are the peak of the season and alone account for 35% of the season.
Strawberry exports to the European market have significantly developed during the current season, growing by 30% since the beginning of the season in November 2018 to the end of January this year, he highlighted.
Additionally, he added that the EU grants the Egyptian strawberry a quota of 11,600 tonnes in order to enter the market custom-free. Egyptian companies surpassed this ratio and were consequently subjected to customs of €400 per tonne starting from the last week of January.
What’s more, Fouad noted that strawberry exports increased from 8,500 tonnes in 2016 to 12,000 tonnes in 2017, and exceeded 14,000 tonnes last year.
He stressed that the current season witnessed an airlines crisis which witnessed the transformation of international airlines into forming three large economic blocs, namely China, Europe, and the US.
Plus, Fouad remarked that the three blocs dominate 80% of the global trade and currently trade movement between them is quite active, which pushed international companies to move toward these markets at the expense of the other markets.
Over and above, he explained that the cost of transportation between China and Europe ranges from $6 to $10 per kilogram and reached €20 between Europe and the US, against $1 from Egypt.
Fouad also indicated that the most prominent products transported by the company from Egypt to Europe include strawberries, grapes, green beans, and peaches.
Noteworthy, he referred to Morocco, Kenya and Senegal as the biggest competitors, in addition to Spain, which enjoys closer proximity to the European market as well as low freight transport costs.