Ships, planes and railroads don’t have enough capacity; this is why global transportation is one of our main themes. We continue to believe that global transportation vehicles and their suppliers are good investments.
Air Cargo-Guest Commentary by David Hendershott
Traditionally a lot of air cargo planes were older passenger planes converted to cargo planes. Conversions are still done, but the supply of older planes has dried up for now, and the need for fuel efficiency is making conversions a lot less attractive than it used to be. Because of the urgent need for freighters, even the inefficient older planes are converted as fast as they become available. Boeing entered the conversion business last year. Even with the high fuel costs, airfreight is far more efficient than maritime shipping for the timely delivery of high value, low weight or perishable items such as electronics, food and apparel directly to their destinations. The biggest market for new aircraft is in the long haul segment.
In reality it’s not just the air cargo system that is straining it’s capacity. The maritime shipping industry doesn’t have enough ships. The ports are operating at nearly full capacity, or more in some cases. The rail systems are proving inadequate even in the U.S. There was an article in the WSJ on Wednesday detailing some of the infrastructure needs in the U.S., concluding that we need to spend $1.3 trillion by 2010 just on maintenance and repair, and that won’t help the capacity issue.