Airfreight rates on key lanes continue gradual descent in September

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Airfreight rates on key trade lanes out of Asia continued to weaken in September despite the industry heading towards the peak season.

The latest figures from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) show that in September rates from Hong Kong to North America declined by 18.5% compared with a year ago to $7.94 per kg and are also down on the $8.33 per kg achieved in August.

The declines are noteworthy for two reasons, firstly rates on the trade lane tend to increase from August to September and secondly it is only the second time since February 2020 that prices on the trade have registered a year-on-year decline.

Meanwhile, average prices from Hong Kong to Europe stood at $6.09 per kg in September, which is down on the $6.34 per kg registered in August but remains 9.3% ahead of the year-ago level.

Rates on this lane also tend to increase between August and September.

The falls come as bellyhold capacity continues to return to the Hong Kong market as Covid restrictions are eased and the air cargo outlook remains cloudy.

In its latest market wrap-up, TAC Index said: “Normally at this time of year, prices tend to firm up ahead of the peak season.

“But this year – against a backdrop of high commodity prices, rising interest rates, full inventories, and prospects of stagflation – the reverse seems to be happening.”

It should of course be noted that prices on both lanes remain far above pre-Covid levels – in 2019, rates from Hong Kong to North America stood at $3.34 per kg and from Hong Kong to Europe rates were $2.56 per kg.

Meanwhile, on services from Frankfurt to North America average rates stood at $3.87 per kg, a decrease of 8.1% compared with a year ago and down on August’s $3.95 per kg.

Transpacific airfreight pricing dips below 2021 levels in August

Airfreight rates to grind lower despite high inventories

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]