MSC Air Cargo Aircraft Image

MSC is following rivals CMA CGM and Maersk into the air cargo arena – but with leased aircraft.

Today MSC announced it had signed a long-term deal with Atlas Air for four new 777-200 freighters, with the first arriving before the end of the year.

MSC Air Cargo has been under development for months, said the shipping line, and will begin operations early next year.

The news follows the failure of MSC and Lufthansa’s bid for a majority stake ITA Airways, the Italian government favoured the offer from AF-KLM instead.

However, MSC’s new air cargo strategy will give the market confidence, following the appointment of Jannie Davel to lead its air arm. Observers have been sceptical about the lack of experience in both Maersk and CMA CGM’s air operations.

Mr Davel joins from Delta Cargo, where he was MD commercial. He has also headed Emirates SkyCargo’s Americas operation and has been DHL’s head of airfreight in the Americas and US. The appointment suggests MSC will be looking for US routes.

MSC said its entry into airfreight was in response to customer demand and, added CEO Soren Toft: “This is our first step into this market and we plan to continue exploring various avenues to develop air cargo in a way that complements our core business of container shipping.

“We are delighted to welcome Jannie Davel to spearhead this exciting new offering for MSC clients.

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