Airport group warns of uncertain outlook for cargo in 2019

Airports Council International (ACI) has warned of an uncertain outlook for cargo volumes during the coming year.
ACI pointed to "significant" volatility in cargo volumes between August and November, with year-on-year growth figures ranging from 3.7% growth in October to a 0.3% decline in November.
The gains produced by the industry in the first half of 2018 have been moderating since, with year-to-date growth reaching 3.6% in November.
ACI director general Angela Gittens said: "Volatility in the market between August and November shows that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies has certainly tested the industry this year and the final impact on global supply chains remaining uncertain.
"The outlook for the industry’s performance this year remains uncertain. The US federal government is suffering from a partial shutdown, China’s diplomatic relationships are under tension with several major Western countries, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union is still being negotiated, and geopolitical tensions are high in the Middle East, with the Qatar crisis remaining unresolved, all of which could have a significant impact on passenger and traffic growth in 2019.”
ACI also provided a breakdown of freight performance during the August-November period:
"August freight figures were held up mostly by the domestic segment, which grew at 5% on a year-over-year basis compared to the international segment’s 1.2%. Total freight gained 2.3% during the month.
The divergent growth between Asia-Pacific and North American markets, which had started to show in June of this year, continued during the month, with the two regions growing by 1.9% and 5.1% respectively on a year-over-year basis. Europe barely avoided going into negative territory in August, posting 0.1% growth for the month.

September’s freight results showed a substantial moderation, reaching 1.6% growth on a year-over-year basis, in line with the volatility that’s characterised this year’s freight market.
Asia-Pacific lost 1.1% during the month, with Europe gaining 0.8% and North America continuing its robust growth at 4%.
Here again, global domestic freight propped up the industry’s figures with +3%, compensating for a 0.9% increase in the international segment.

The airfreight market gained back some lost momentum in October, growing by 3.7% on a year-over-year basis.
As with August and September, Asia-Pacific (2.6%) and Europe (1.9%) under-performed compared to North America (6.4%) during the month.
The global industry’s domestic segment contributed the larger portion of the period’s increase, gaining 6.6%. The international segment reached 2.4%, an improvement over the four prior months.
In November 2018, the global airfreight industry posted a decline for the first time since February 2016, losing 0.3% against a year prior.
Both market segments had weak performance, with international freight losing 0.6% and the domestic segment gaining 0.3%.
North America posted a 0.9% increase in total freight during the period, a significant shift from prior months for the region. Europe and Asia-Pacific declined on a year-over-year basis, posting -1% and -2.1% respectively.

Despite the volatility and moderation of the last months, year-to-date figures remain robust for the airfreight industry.
Total freight is set to grow by at least 3% by year’s end (currently at 3.6%), with domestic freight hovering around 5%. International freight is standing at 3%, with the trend suggesting it could stand around 2.7% by year’s end.
Considering the events taking place in 2018, these figures do point to the industry’s impressive resilience to shocks."

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