Airfreight rate rises pick up pace in October

Source: Baltic Exchange Air Freight Index (BAI) powered by TAC Data Copyright: Baltic Exchange. Chart created by Air Cargo News

Airfreight rates on major east-west trades picked up in October as the industry entered its traditional peak season (see dashboard at end of article).

The latest figures from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) based on TAC data show that average rates  – spot and contract – on services from Hong Kong to North America increased by 18.4% compared with September to $5.80 per kg.

Compared with last year prices are down 13.9%, although the difference between the two years has continued to narrow from a high of 47.7% in May.

From Hong Kong to Europe, rates in October increased 14.5% on the September level to $4.26 per kg. Against last year, prices on the route are down 26.3%. 

Airfreight rates tend to rise at this time of year as the industry enters the peak season, although the increase level depends on the strength of demand.

Many had been expecting a “muted” peak season this year with minimal rate rises due to subdued demand.

In its latest market summary, TAC Index said that the recent rate rises reflected a “genuine if modest peak season bounce with gains on rates from all major outbound locations around the world”.

Meanwhile, data provider WorldACD said that global air cargo tonnages and rates had stabilised after recovering from China’s National Day Golden Week in early October.

It said that there are no clear signs yet of any significant fourth-quarter peak season, despite anecdotal reports from some freight forwarders of a slight seasonal tightening of the market.

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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]