How Air Freight Logistics is Adapting to the Changing Demand in South Africa

How Air Freight Logistics is Adapting to the Changing Demand in South Africa

Air freight logistics has become increasingly vital for many industries in South Africa. In recent years, the demand for air freight has seen a significant rise, primarily due to the growth of e-commerce and the need for quick and efficient transportation of goods.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a unique set of challenges to the industry. In this blog, we will discuss how air freight logistics is adapting to the changing demand in South Africa.

Trend of Air Freight in South Africa

South Africa’s air freight industry has experienced steady growth in recent years. The country’s geographical location as a gateway to Africa has made it a hub for air freight transportation.

According to the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), air cargo volumes are on the rise, with Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport handling the majority of the cargo. However, the COVID-19 pandemic did have a significant impact on the industry, leading to a decrease in air freight demand.

Factors for Air Freight in South Africa

African aviation traffic has recovered at such a strong pace in 2022, driven by higher global commodity prices and increasing rates of urbanisation and a growing middle-class population.

Another primary factor that contributes to the demand for air freight in South Africa, is the growth of e-commerce. As more consumers turn to online shopping, there is a need for quick and efficient delivery of goods, which air freight provides. Additionally, South Africa’s position as a gateway to Africa makes it an ideal location for air freight transportation, enabling goods to be transported across the continent quickly.

Why has air freight demand fluctuated?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the demand for air freight in South Africa. The restrictions on travel and movement of goods resulted in a temporary decrease in air freight demand.

Sea freight costs are steadily declining. During the pandemic, this mode was far more reliable than air freight leading many to tout the benefits of sea over air. However, as the world gradually recovers from the pandemic, demand for air freight is on the rise once again.

Boeing predicts a 6.1% annual compound growth rate for Africa’s airfreight sector over the next 20 years, unlocking $80bn in supply chain industry opportunities.

Europe remains the primary origin/destination for African carriers, with air traffic growth of 5.2% for the continent being the third highest of all global regions.

SA Adapts to Air Freight Rise

The worldwide air freight market is expected to grow significantly between 2023 and 2029. Currently, the market is steadily increasing and is projected to continue growing due to the implementation of strategies by major players.

The air freight industry in South Africa has been quick to adapt to the changing demands. One of the ways the industry has adapted is by implementing health and safety protocols to ensure the safe transportation of goods.

Additionally, the industry has embraced technology, such as online platforms, to make it easier for customers to book and track their shipments.

Another way the industry has adapted is by focusing on sustainability. With growing concerns over climate change, there is a need for the air freight industry to reduce its carbon footprint. In South Africa, the industry is exploring the use of alternative fuels and investing in more fuel-efficient aircrafts.

The trend of air freight in South Africa is one of growth, albeit with a temporary setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


If you’re looking for a reliable air freight logistics provider in South Africa, look no further than Intersped. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Intersped offers a range of services, including air freight, sea freight, and road freight.

We pride ourselves on our commitment to customer satisfaction and our ability to adapt to changing market demands. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business with its logistics needs.