Air cargo market levels off, notes IATA

06 / 05 / 2014

  • Airfreight markets were up 5.9 per cent in March compared to a year ago

    Airfreight markets were up 5.9 per cent in March compared to a year ago

AIRFREIGHT markets were up 5.9 per cent in March compared to a year ago and capacity grew 3.4 per cent, reports IATA.

Despite this improvement, air cargo volumes have been basically flat since the beginning of this year, says the association.

“This plateau in volumes is consistent with the recent pause in improvements to business confidence and world trade,” says director general Tony Tyler. 

On the plus side, business conditions in the USA and Europe provide a reason to be cautiously optimistic for a resumption of growth in the months ahead, he adds.

“Rising export orders are expected to give positive momentum to US and European markets.”

But this is balanced against the impact of a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing, which is now into its fourth month. This has already impacted exports from emerging Asian countries, which contracted in February.

“Cargo markets had a boost in the last quarter of 2013, but have now levelled off,” Tyler points out.

“It [air cargo} is a competitive industry with growing capacity chasing weak demand.”

The business cycle will eventually swing upwards, IATA believes.

But the air cargo industry also needs to improve its value proposition if it is to attract growth when markets improve. Modernising air cargo processes and infrastructure offers the potential to cut end-to-end shipping times by up to 48 hours.

“We cannot let market doldrums hold us back from this critical competitive gain,” says Tyler.