March volumes hit by late Chinese New Year

Global air cargo volumes registered only a small increase in March compared with a year earlier as a result of the late Chinese New Year holiday.
The latest figures from Netherlands-based analyst WorldACD show that global air cargo volumes increased by just 0.3 per cent year on year.
However, this year the Chinese New Year celebration, which sees Chinese factories closing for around two weeks, fell on February 19, compared with January 31 a year earlier.
WorldACD said it can take weeks for production to regain previous momentum and therefore it would be more relevant to look at the quarter as a whole.
Its figures showed that in the final month of the quarter, volumes out of China and Hong Kong dived by 18 per cent against the same period last year.
“It is often said that January and February results should be viewed together when judging air cargo performance in Asia. This is only partly true,” the analyst said.
“Our research shows that the aftermath of Chinese New Year, the gradual start-up of air cargo activities after the date itself, often takes as long as three weeks.
“Thus, in 2015, the effects were visible well into March, an added reason to review the total first quarter.
”When comparing quarterly results, taking out the data for China and Hong Kong, global volume growth came in at around 4 per cent, which is “very stable” the analyst said.
“However, for China and Hong Kong, often seen as the engines of the world’s air cargo growth, the corresponding figure was 1.8 per cent only.
“And yet, Asia Pacific as a whole grew by eight per cent, thanks to striking growth from Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, recording year-on-year growth ranging from 11 per cent in Taiwan to 29 per cent in Vietnam."
Other trends identified by the analyst for March include; pharma “exploding” with growth of 16 per cent against last year and volume and yield from Japan to North America continued their extraordinary growth.
Meanwhile, yield in March continued to progress on a similar path to the rest of the year as it declined by 11.2 per cent.
For the first quarter the yield decline stands at almost 10 per cent.While this may make for tough reading for cargo airlines, it is perhaps not as bad news as it appear to be.
WorldACD said the yield decline is likely to be caused by lower fuel prices affecting the revenue line.“Yield developments (in $) were in line with what we saw earlier in the quarter, confirming the view that lower oil prices now clearly influence yield levels,” it said.
Earlier this week, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines released its figures for February.
It said airlines based in the region enjoyed a 20.5 per cent year-on-year increase in freight tonne km in February to 4.8bn FTK as shippers looked to use air freight to avoid congestion related delays at US seaports.

Source: WorldACD

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