Apple Led Tech Race

Apple Led Tech Race May Raise Air Rates Amid Weak Shipping

A surge in the introduction of new technology products, including Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone 5, is poised to drive up rates for shipping by plane, benefiting companies from FedEx Corp. (FDX) to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Apple, Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com (AMZN) Inc. are offering new smartphones and tablets as they compete for customers in the fast-growing mobile-computing market.

So many devices shipping at once may spur a larger price increase than the 20 percent jump after Apple’s new iPad in March, said Kevin Sterling, a transportation analyst at BB&T Capital Markets.

“This is a new dynamic for the air-freight industry,” Sterling said in a telephone interview from Richmond, Virginia. “There’s been tech launches periodically, but there’s so much hype around so many products at one time.”

The gadget convergence is a bright spot for air-freight companies in a pre-holiday shipping season clouded by weak U.S. job growth. Potential beneficiaries include companies such as FedEx, which runs the world’s largest cargo airline, and Atlas, the biggest operator of Boeing Co. (BA) 747 freighters.

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