Growth continues but outlook uncertain, says WorldACD

The airfreight market continued to grow overall in April, but the outlook has become much less clear, say analysts WorldACD. Following March’s strong across-the-board increase, worldwide growth in April was still a respectable 7.7%in terms of volume year on year, but different parts of the industry showed very different performances.
The seasonal fall between March to April was also particularly large this year at  -8% compared to an average of -4% in the previous three years. Moreover, it reversed the trend for the fall to become smaller seen over the past three years.
WorldACD says: “The growth acceleration we witnessed since summer 2016 continued this year, but the size of the March-April drop in 2017 may act as a caveat against the view that good times are here to stay.”
Other factors influencing the market may include the late Easter in 2017. A year-on-year outbound volume growth of 19% in March was followed by a meagre 5% in April, “but the two months together still averaged an impressive 12.1% YoY growth outbound (and 9.3% inbound).”
April volume growth YoY ranged from 14% in the Asia Pacific origin to -3% in Africa. Taking March and April together, year-on-year growth was stronger than in January/February in all regions, except for Africa.
The analysts suggest that the most reliable indicators are the total for the first four months of the year. Here, volume was up a solid 9% compared with 2016, whereas the first four months of 2016 were flat compared with the same period in 2015.
Japan seems well on its way to putting last year’s lacklustre performance behind it and the country “is among the world’s serious growth markets, both inbound and outbound”. There was also good growth in two smaller markets – 30% year on year from Vietnam and Poland.
The perishables market hardly grew but the air cargo pharma market increased by a healthy 12.1%, even though the top producer India stagnated in the first four months of 2017.

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