Pilot Career Center - Global
Pilot Career Center - Global

Air freight maintains strong growth momentum

Air freight maintains strong growth

2017 10 03

2017 10 03

by Will Waters | Tuesday, 03 October 2017

* Double-digit volume increase again in August, with average prices up by a similar amount


Worldwide air freight maintained its strong growth momentum throughout the summer, with a further double-digit year-on-year volume increase in August, accompanied by a similar double-digit increase in average prices or ‘yields’, according to figures from WorldACD.

Worldwide air cargo tonnages increased in August of 12.9%, year over year (YoY), while YoY growth in WorldACD’s ‘direct tonne kilometres’ (DTKs) measure was even higher at 14.6%, “underscoring another trend, namely that the average distance between point of origin and point of destination of air cargo shipments keeps growing, just like the average shipment size”.

Total worldwide revenues, in US dollars, increased with more than 23%, helped by an average YoY yield increase of 15 US$-cents, WorldACD noted. “This uncommonly high yield increase was no doubt helped by the strengthening of the Euro against the dollar,” it added.

In the year so far, the Asia Pacific and Europe origin regions have outperformed other regions consistently, the Amsterdam-based analyst noted, although August brought robust growth from North America as well. These three regions each posted more than 15% YoY volume growth.

In North America, the only ‘outlier’ was domestic air cargo, “which hardly grew, another quite persistent trend”, it added. From the origin Africa, WorldACD noted a YoY volume contraction (-4%), “caused purely by declining business to its main markets Europe and the Middle East”. But southern hemisphere markets like South America and Indonesia recorded YoY growth in August of 11% and 21% respectively.

WorldACD noted that most of the top air cargo origins in the world, such as Hong Kong, Germany, parts of China, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, have been contributing to the booming air cargo market this year, “as one would expect from these markets”. However, France, Australia and the United Arab Emirates “are performing well below the average for 2017, thus seeing their relative position under some threat”.

With growth of more than 25% for the year up till now, Vietnam and Belgium “are moving up in the rankings, Vietnam showing growth across the board and Belgium clearly profiting from its focus on improving its pharma transport infrastructure”, WorldACD said.

On the subject of specific air cargo sectors, this month WorldACD rolled out a new version of its product data information, which now recognises eleven different product categories instead of the previous six, providing “more in-depth views of what is happening in air cargo markets”.

Among the new insights it highlights are:

Specific product information now accounts for 30% of total air cargo information;

Growth in the transport of high tech and other vulnerable goods clearly outpaces the year-to-date growth in general cargo: 18% vs. 12.4%. Pharmaceuticals were the only other category growing faster than general cargo;

Of all specific cargo products, 25% of the volume originates in Asia Pacific, but 30% of the revenues (in US$);

In the transport of perishables in 2017 compared to 2016, WorldACD said the following picture emerged: growth was mainly driven by the flower markets, which increased by 9.9%, and thus did much better than the markets in Fruits & Vegetables (+5.9%) and Fish & Seafood (+4.9%).

The two most important flower markets show very different fortunes in 2017, WorldACD noted: while flower transport in the Colombia-USA market increased by 18% YoY, the market from Kenya to The Netherlands contracted by 1.6%. Yields fell slightly in both.

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