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When Kitty Hawk Cargo went to the ground in late 2005 with a Startup less-than-truckload service, the freight airline already had Plenty of company. Kitty Hawk's customers and its competitors Had already made the move to from air to surface transportation, a shift that has accelerated as trucking services have improved, domestic expedited supply chains have moved to a two-day mode and prices for air shipping have soared.
"U.S. shipping has moved to a regionally-based, surface-driven model, and there is no turning back," Ted Scherck, president of the Colography Group, a Georgia-based research and consulting firm.
Industry experts say the long-established move by expedited shippers to the ground in the United States is taking on a new shape as manufacturers and retailers reconfigure supply chains and transportation providers close the gaps between services.
That gap is no longer closing merely because truckers are encroaching on traditional air cargo business, air forwarders and truckers say, but because both wings of the transportation world are increasingly using each other's services and capabilities.
Rather than simply trying to lure shippers to lower-priced trucking services, some truckers and truck brokers are launching air cargo divisions to get more of the high-yield business while meeting the specialized demands of air freight. At the same time, domestic air forwarders are finding …