Air freight is seeing a traffic bump. It's only temporary.
As ocean transport has become more reliable and steady over the years, it's actually taken some kinds of time-sensitive cargo away from air carriers; about 15 million tons worth, according to a study from Drewry Shipping Consultants.
But recently some importers, desperate to keep product on shelves for Christmas, resorted to air cargo carriers to move goods in. Air freight is typically more expensive, but the extra cost can be absorbed somewhat if the product commands a high enough price.
"Congestion on the US West Coast ports is a costly reminder to shippers of the need for risk planning, particularly in peak seasons," concluded Drewry Shipping Consultants. "The issue will help to inflate air rates and demand temporarily, but it will not reverse the longer-term trend towards ocean."
Many major airlines have side air freight operations, in addition to noted operators like FedEex and UPS.