International delivery company ParcelHero has warned that the grounding of Boeing’s entire 737 Max 8 fleet could cause delays to overseas freight.
According to David Jinks MILT, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, anyone planning to send a parcel or waiting for a typical 2-3-day international parcel service could experience delays: “One of the unexpected impacts of the tragic crashes of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 this month, and Lion Air’s crash of the same aircraft just six months ago, is there could be delays to smaller-sized international shipments.
“International goods and parcels are not only flown in specially designed cargo aircraft. Many passenger flights also carry some freight, as well as passengers and their baggage. In fact, passenger airlines make up to 10% of their revenue from freight carried in the cargo hold of passenger jets.”
For example, the US Postal Service leases space on around 15,000 of the 25,000 scheduled flights every day and the sudden loss of all the 737 Max 8s already in service could have a big impact.
Jinks commented, “The 737 Max 8 is a narrow-body aircraft. That means it has nothing like the 5,330ft3 [150.9m3] cargo capacity of its big brother 747. But it’s ideal for carrying smaller items such as e-commerce shipments.”
The lower deck compartment of the 737 Max 8 that air cargo shares with baggage is around 1,540ft3 (43.6m3). On average, a 737 Max 8 can accommodate 2,500-5,000 lb of freight and parcels, in addition to passengers’ baggage. Typically, narrow-body aircraft like the 737 carry cargo loads consisting primarily of mail, express parcels and smaller freight and e-commerce items, according to ParcelHero.
“That means smaller e-commerce goods are exactly the type of items that would usually be booked onto a 737 Max 8 flight and could find themselves grounded until alternative aircraft can be found,” Jinks said.
“If you are sending merchandise into countries served by 737 Max 8 aircraft, or are expecting items from countries such as the USA or China – which flies 98 of this type of aircraft currently – you could well experience some issues as part of the continuing fall out of the tragic recent accidents.”