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Journal of Economic Integration 2014 March;29(1) :95-138.
Air Cargo beyond Trade Barriers in Africa
Bianka Dettmer
Andreas Freytag and 
Peter Draper 
Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany
Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany and Stellenbosch University, South Africa
South African Institute of International Affairs, Johannesburg, South Africa
Corresponding Author: Bianka Dettmer ,Tel: +49 3641943256, Fax: +49 3641943252, Email:
Copyright ©2014 Journal of Economic Integration
We develop a methodology based on two important criteria - sensitivity in delivery time and value-to-weight ratio – to classify air cargo products. The classification is applied to evaluate the trade integration in Southern Africa since air cargo is a valuable option to overcome trade barriers associated with poor land transport infrastructure and corruption. We find that South Africa’s exports to industrialized countries consist of precious products such as diamonds and gold. These products tend to be transported in the hand baggage of a security personnel as they leave the loading weight of an average airplane almost unaffected. When correcting African trade for these ‘invisible outliers’ in the loading freight, we find that African trade integration including Southern Africa is based upon a comparatively higher share of air cargo relevant products than Southern Africa’s trade with industrialized and emerging economies. A more liberal market for air cargo services can reduce transport costs and will allow the continent to integrate even further.

JEL Classification
F10: General
F14: Empirical Studies of Trade
F15: Economic Integration
L93: Air Transportation
Keywords: Trade Cost | Time Sensitivity | Air Cargo Transport | Intra-African Trade Integration
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