Air cargo demand grows ahead of expectation in January

Date: Friday, March 2, 2018
Source: Air Cargo News

Air cargo demand and revenues improved in January, but it is too early to tell whether this foreshadows another strong year for air cargo.

The latest figures from WorldACD show that worldwide cargo volumes increased by 8.5% year on year in January, compared with growth predictions for the year of around 4.5%.

However, the analyst warned that performance during the first two months of the year is affected by the timing of Chinese New Year. In 2018, the holiday fell on February 16, while last year it landed on January 28.

WorldACD said: “Chinese New Year normally has two effects on trade: a spike in trade before, and trade diminishing afterwards. And although the negative influence is usually felt during the two weeks following Chinese New Year, the first four days bear the brunt of the decrease.

“Thus, with GDP-growth in the world continuing, one would expect January to be much better in 2018 than in 2017.

“But by how much? Based on freight tonne km data for the first three weeks of January, we believe that year on year volume growth in this pre-Chinese New Year-period may well have been in the range of 4%-6%.

“A serious growth, surely, but hinting at an overall growth pace lower than the increase shown in the full January-figures.”

The analyst said that the fastest growing origins during the month were: in Africa, Ghana (23%), in Asia Pacific from Australia (26%) and Japan (21%), in Latin America from Chile (22%) and Colombia (14%), in Europe from Germany (18%) and the UK (10%), in the Middle East and South Asia from Bangladesh (9%) and India (3%), and in the US from the Midwest (12%) and the Atlantic South (10%).

Air cargo revenues also performed well in January, with US dollar yields increasing by 16.8% compared with January 2017.

However, WorldACD pointed out that the yield increase was helped by a devaluing dollar and that the increase was only 1.6% in euros.

The analyst also continued its look back on 2017 in its monthly market update: “Average worldwide yield for special cargo (excl. perishables) was 45% higher than for general cargo; a year earlier, the difference was 50%.

“General cargo grew with 11% vs. 7% growth for other cargo categories; the figures for 2016 were 3% and 5% respectively.

“High tech, flowers and pharmaceuticals showed the highest absolute growth of all special cargo.

“Biggest contributors to the growth in these categories were Hong Kong and Singapore, Colombia and Ecuador, India and Belgium.

“Put differently, the biggest contributors to the growth in these three categories, were DB Schenker, Cargomaster and Kuehne + Nagel.”

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