Volumes up in January despite Chinese New Year effects

Chinese New Year affected airfreight demand in January, but nonetheless volumes improved during the month compared with a year earlier.
The latest figures from analyst WorldACD show that air cargo demand in weight terms improved by 4.9% year on year in January, with the origins Asia Pacific and North America registering improvements of more than 7%.
The analyst warned it is difficult to draw any conclusions from January’s performance because of the effects of factory closures for the two-week Chinese New Year holiday, which this year fell in January compared with February last year.
“The timing of Chinese New Year plays a considerable role in judging the year-over-year (YoY) performance in air cargo at the start of the international calendar year,” the analyst said.
“This year, January 28 was the date. Many businesses, in China but also elsewhere in Asia Pacific, show a frenzied activity in the week leading up to the auspicious date, and almost total calm for a while afterwards.
“As last year’s date was February 8, the first month of 2017 ‘benefited’ year on year from the additional activity, but also ‘suffered’ in the last four days.”
On yields, WorldACD said there was a “remarkable development” because in US dollar terms they were down only 2.9% compared with December while in past years the month-on-month drop has been closer to 8% mark.
“Does Chinese New Year play an overriding role in yield developments from Asia Pacific?” WorldACD questioned. “Not necessarily: both in 2015 and 2016, Chinese New Year occurred in February, yet February-yields were higher than January in 2015, but lower in 2016.”
In its monthly report, the analyst also took a look at the dangerous goods product category. It pointed out that while a lot of attention is given to pharmaceuticals, dangerous goods actually brings in larger amounts of revenues despite US dollar yields being around 10% lower for this product category.

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