AMI sees Durban growth from “fly-direct” policy

The Durban office of AMI – the world’s largest trade-only airfreight and express wholesaler – has seen dramatic growth in traffic for the first half of 2016.

The first quarter showed healthy growth of 7.4%, but this was overtaken by the second quarter’s growth, at 118%. As a result, AMI’s Durban traffic has grown by 59% for the year to date, compared to 2015.

AMI’s VP Africa, Milton French, believes the growth trend is fuelled by the recent increase in Durban’s international air connections, and AMI’s policy of supporting local flights wherever possible.

“When our Durban operation was opened in April 2003, the aim was to provide more localised export and import services for cargo agents, says French. “At that time, many of them dealt directly with AMI in Johannesburg. There were no direct international flights to and from Durban, and most of the cargo was routed via JNB by RFS or domestic flights.

“With the progressive introduction of direct, mostly wide-body international air services from Durban by major carriers, we now have direct access to a wide range of worldwide destinations. This, and our policy of promoting local services where possible, is driving growth in our traffic.”

French explains that the use of direct services is not only benefiting local customers, but is also assisting AMI Johannesburg, by taking pressure off the airport’s cargo infrastructure that can cause backlogs in exports and imports. Nevertheless, AMI still provides RFS and domestic air links between Durban and Jo’burg, when they are needed to connect with those carriers which do not fly into Durban.

AMI’s Durban growth is not related to any particular route or commodity, adds French: “There are no specific commodities driving it: the traffic increase is very general and ever-changing.”

He concludes: “There is evidence that our fly-direct policy is winning market share from co-loaders. So we expect the growth to continue for the foreseeable future.”

AMI’s South African business operates through branches in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. During January-April 2016, AMI held an 8.3% share of the total South African airfreight market. In May, it ranked third in the country’s airfreight agents’ league table.

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