Airfreight demand growth ramps up in May

Air cargo growth ramps up in May with a “formidable” year-on-year performance, according to analyst WorldACD.
The latest stats from the data company show that May saw chargeable airfreight weight increase by 12.8% year on year despite concerns that demand growth had reached its peak in the first three months of the year and would slow from here on in.
The company said that yields for the month were also up, improving by 5% in dollar terms compared with a year ago.
For the first five months of the year, worldwide chargeable weight increased by 10% against 2016 levels and revenues are up 11% in dollar terms.
WorldACD said it appeared e-commerce was helping to fuel the demand growth experienced by airfreight so far this year but added that general cargo was also playing a role.
“Macro-economic indicators seem to hint that the present situation looks fairly robust,” the analyst said.
“Growth in e-commerce may be one factor explaining the surge in air cargo we witness since the second half of 2016: after all, speed plays an important role in this sector of the economy.
“Yet, we do not see this trend reflected in large increases in express air cargo. We note the largest growth in regular shipments weighing more than 1,000 kilograms, a clear sign that most e-commerce finds the regular speed of air cargo good enough, and that e-commerce is definitely not a matter of individual small parcels flying across the globe.
“Increasing consumer demand in general (and for electronics in particular) may be another contributing factor, fuelled by an increase in purchasing power, most clearly in a number of Asian markets. Our growth figures for a number of these markets certainly point in that direction.
“But Europe and North America (the latter mainly in incoming traffic) show their mettle as well.
"Although the economic recovery in eastern Europe and Latin America is slower than elsewhere, air cargo from these regions is now clearly picking up. The laggards of early 2017 are therefore Africa and the Middle East.”
WorldACD figures show that the Asia Pacific region has now recorded double digit year-on-year volume increases for four months in a row, resulting in a year-to-date growth of 14%.
China and Hong Kong, accounting for about half of the region’s air cargo, grew even faster, but their growth percentages were topped by Vietnam (+31%) and the Philippines (+26%).
Volumes from Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, contracted. Whilst China and Hong Kong send only a quarter of their air cargo to destinations in the region, for Japan and Southeast Asia it is almost half of their total exports by air that stay within Asia Pacific.
Looking at different sectors with Asia Pacific, live animals, perishable goods and pharmaceuticals all registered decreases, with pharmaceuticals losing 31.7%.
“Only the small segment of express cargo (+22.6%) outstripped the overall intra-regional growth of 12.7%.
“In other words: general cargo is on the rise and that is not just the case in Asia Pacific, it is the worldwide trend in the year so far. With the exception of pharmaceuticals, specific cargo categories experience slower growth than general cargo.”

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