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Future of air cargo transportation in Serbia

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The air transport of goods saw modest growth in 2022 compared to 2021, but projections from the analytical portal Statista for Serbia suggest that the volume of air freight could triple by 2025 and quadruple by 2027.

However, Serbia has only six registered companies engaged in air cargo transportation, with three of them reporting no revenue in the last three years.

On the other hand, data from the credit rating agency CompanyWall indicates a 36-fold increase in profits in this sector in Serbia, dominated by the German company DHL, from 2020 to 2022. During the same period, revenues increased fivefold.

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“Despite political and economic challenges, the global air cargo market returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 after the peak during COVID in 2021. Although demand throughout the year was 3.6% lower than pre-pandemic levels, a significant strengthening in the last quarter indicates that markets are stabilizing towards more normal demand patterns. This puts the industry on a very solid foundation for success in 2024. But with continued, and in some cases intensified, geopolitical and economic instability, little should be taken for granted in the coming months,” said Willie Walsh, CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), at the end of last year.

The latest data for Serbia is available for 2022, when air traffic recorded a growth in the number of passengers by as much as 73.9% compared to the previous year. However, the volume of transported goods increased by a more modest 4.5%, or 3.5% in ton-kilometers.

Global projections from Statista for Serbia are much more optimistic. Based on previous data collected from the World Bank, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Statista projects that in 2025, the volume of air cargo could exceed 45,000 ton-kilometers (TKM), while in 2022, our statistics recorded a performance of 17,700 TKM and Statista projected 18,180 TKM.

Statista projects that by 2027, air cargo transport could reach nearly 80,000 TKM.

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Regarding the air transport sector in Serbia, CompanyWall data shows that a total of six companies are registered, with total revenue of 3.64 billion dinars and net profit of 403 million dinars in 2022.

Revenue and profits in this sector have seen significant growth since the pandemic year of 2020 when revenue was 798 million dinars and profit was only 11.33 million dinars. By 2021, revenue had increased to 1.7 billion dinars, and profit to 136.6 million dinars.

However, this success can be attributed to just one company – DHL Global Forwarding, the Serbian subsidiary of German DHL, which achieved revenue of 3.5 billion dinars and profit of 416 million dinars in 2022.

In second place is the Turkish company Airmark GSA, which reached revenue of 121 million dinars and a profit of one million dinars in 2022. Third in terms of revenue is Varant Logistics, owned by an individual, which generated revenue of 42 million dinars and a profit of 3.7 million dinars.

The most serious local competitor to foreign companies in this sector is Milšped Sky Cargo, one of the youngest members of the Milšped family of companies. It was promoted last year at the International “Transport and Logistics” Fair in Munich, where it signed a business cooperation agreement with DNG Aviation DMCC based in Dubai, specializing in air transport services in Africa and the Middle East.

Company Camex currently has no employees or revenue, incurring expenses of 1.44 million dinars in 2022.

Lastly, there is PTMAero, which may not be widely known to the public, but its co-owners Predrag Koluvija and Miloš Davidović are. Koluvija is accused of marijuana production on the “Jovanjica” estate, with his trial ongoing, while Davidović worked at “Jovanjica” as an advisor to the director. Davidović was also a witness in Koluvija’s trial.

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