Air freight growth gains momentum
Global air cargo traffic continued its improvement trend in February with FTKs rising 8.4% compared to a year-ago, according to IATA’s February Air Freight Market analysis. After adjusting for the leap year in 2016, demand was up 12%—four times better than the average annual growth rate of 3% over the past five years.
Global capacity decreased 0.4% in February, leading to a global freight load factor of 43.5%, a 3.5% rise over February 2015’s level.
IATA said the current strong annual growth rates are tied to signs of recovery in world trade conditions, with new export orders at nearly a six-year high, according to the global purchasing managers’ index (PMI).
“Traditional drivers for air freight have also been strong recently, including a pronounced pickup in semi-conductor material shipments,” IATA senior economist David Oxley said. “The increasing importance of niche areas such as pharmaceuticals and cross-border e-commerce offer opportunities for air freight and may yet help it to de-couple from wider world trade conditions.”
“February further added to the cautious optimism building in air cargo markets,” IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. “While there are signs of stronger world trade, concerns over the current protectionist rhetoric are still very real.”
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“Any optimistic look at the future sees growing demand for specialized value added services. Shippers are telling us that the key to turning the current uptick in the cargo industry’s fortunes into longer-term growth is modernizing our antiquated processes,” de Juniac said. “We must use the current momentum to push ahead with the elements of the e-cargo vision, including the e-air waybill which is nearing 50% market penetration.”
The Asia-Pacific region again showed the strongest year-over-year (YOY) improvement in air freight traffic, with volumes rising 11.8% YOY (and, if adjusted for the 2016 leap year, a 15% rise). Trade across Asia-Pacific’s main freight lanes to, from and within the region has risen significantly over the past six months, IATA said.
Air cargo traffic in the European region increased 10.5% during the month (14% adjusted for leap year). “The region’s robust performance continues to be helped in part by the ongoing weakness in the euro, which is visible in very healthy order books for European exporters, particularly in Germany,” Oxley said.
North American air freight volumes were up 5.8% in February (9% adjusted for the leap year), driven in part by freight traffic to and from Asia, combined with the strength of the US dollar boosting inbound freight (but simultaneously hampering the export market).
Air freight volumes on Middle Eastern carriers were up 3.4% (or 7% adjusted for the leap year), with capacity decreasing 1.7%. IATA said demand remains strong between the Middle East and Europe, but overall growth in the region has eased, consistent with a slowdown in network expansion by the region’s major carriers.
Air freight volumes among Latin American carriers decreased 4.9% in February (or a 1% decrease adjusted for the leap year); capacity in the region was down 7.2%. African carriers reported a 10.6% increase in freight traffic (or 14% adjusted for the leap year) as traffic in the Africa-Asia trade lane continues to grow, related to rapid long-haul expansion and increased direct services between the continents, IATA said.
- Source: ATW Air Transport World
- Original Link: http://atwonline.com/airline-traffic/air-freight-growth-gains-momentum