Transpacific airfreight rates drop off in December

Airfreight rates on the transpacific trade lane took a tumble at the end of the year as reports suggest the China-US trade war began to affect air cargo.
The latest figures from Tac Index show that in November the average price of services from Hong Kong to North America in December dropped compared with a year earlier for the first time since September 2016.
The Tac Index figures show a 5.1% year-on-year decline for the month to $4.68 per kg.
This comes as analysts suggest that the China-US tariff war began to take its toll on cargo towards the end of the year.
WorldACD figures for November show that air cargo volumes from China to the US were down by around 5% year on year while in the opposite direction there was a 6% fall.
The US later delayed plans to increase tariffs further so January. However, this may not translate to a return to double-digit increase in airfreight rates on the trade lane in January as the overall market is showing signs of a growth slowdown and the comparison figure for 2018 is much stronger than the 2017 equivalent.
A rush to move products before the higher tariffs set in may also mean that inventories are currently looking quite healthy.
It should also be noted that while there was a decline in price in December, rates are still higher than the levels recorded in 2016 and 2015.
Elsewhere it was business as usual for airfreight rates during the month.
Services between Hong Kong and Europe registered a 12.5% year-on-year increase to $3.50 per kg and there was a 1% improvement on Frankfurt-North America services to $2.97 per kg.
Looking ahead, rates on Asia-Europe services tend to dip in the first few months of the year before slowly starting to gain momentum in the second quarter and then increasing more rapidly as the rest of the year progresses.
Click on chart for interactive version

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