IATA warns of “tough year” for cargo

The New Year got off to a slow start for air cargo says IATA in its latest statistical bulletin.
While freight tonne kilometres grew 3.2 per cent in January 2015 compared to the same month last year, it was slower than the 2014’s 4.5 per cent average.
IATA director general and chief executive Tony Tyler commented: "January was a disappointing start to the year for air cargo. And it is difficult to be too optimistic about the rest of the year given the economic headwinds in Europe and growing concerns over the Chinese economy.
"Add to that the continuing trends of on-shoring production and trade protectionism and 2015 is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo."
IATA points to a decline in business confidence since mid-2014 and a tail-off in export orders towards the end of the year and a reversal of the positive trade-to-domestic production ratio which boosted cargo volumes last year.
International airfreight comfortably outpaced the market as a whole, growing 3.9 per cent in January 2015, whereas domestic business actually declined by 0.9 per cent.
There was much regional variation. Asia-Pacific, African and Middle Eastern airlines expanded strongly, growing by 6.9 per cent, but demand contracted in Europe and North and Latin America, although IATA is concerned by the sharp fall in China’s export orders. Deflation in the Eurozone and the weak Russian economy is hitting demand in Europe.
Paradoxically, while North American carriers saw a one per cent fall in FTKs, IATA sees good prospects here. Trade is growing and month to month comparison shows expansion in January compared with December.
Middle East carriers FTKs expanded 9.2 per cent; clearly, the hub strategies by the region’s carriers are paying off.
Latin America suffered a 6.4 per cent fall in January, mainly due to weakness in the major Brazilian and Argentinean economies; other countries saw an increase in trade, but not yet in air cargo.
African airlines’ cargo volume grew 5.2 per cent despite underperformance by major economies such as Nigeria and South Africa.
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