April sees growth slow

AIRFREIGHT markets saw growth levels slow down in April.
IATA data for the month shows that demand measured in freight-tonne-kilometres [FTKs] was 3.2 per cent above previous year levels, but traffic levels in April were slightly below those of January and 1.1 per cent lower than what was recorded in March.
“Prior improvements in the demand environment are experiencing some reversal,” says a statement.
The slip is attributed to a further slowdown in the emerging markets, mostly China, whilst indicators of business confidence slipped further in April.
“Levels still point toward growth, but at the weakest pace for the past five months,” says IATA.
World trade growth has also slowed over recent months. However, momentum in advanced economies remains intact, and export orders still point to expansion. This suggests that current sluggishness in the demand drivers is likely to be temporary.
“Trading conditions for airfreight are difficult. Overall, business activity and trade have shifted down a gear after a strong end to 2013. And this is taking its toll on growth in the air cargo sector,” says Tony Tyler, the association’s director general.
“Developed economies are still maintaining post-recession momentum and the expectation is for a stronger finish to the year,” he adds.
The air cargo industry is committed to improving its attractiveness to shippers through improved efficiency.
The goal is to reduce shipping times by 48 hours before 2020. A centrepiece of this effort is the e-freight initiative which seeks to modernise the air cargo sector with paperless business processes.
“Air cargo’s sales proposition is speed, and cumbersome processes are holding us back,” Tyler warns.
In March the air cargo industry reached a significant milestone. For the first time, the e-airwaybill (e-AWB) was used for more than 200,000 shipments.
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