Airfreight rates climb on the transpacific in March

Source: Shutterstock

Transpacific airfreight rates picked up in March, although there were further declines from Hong Kong to Europe and across the Atlantic.

The latest statistics from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) show that prices from Hong Kong to North America in March increased by 9% compared with February to $5.38 per kg.

Prices from China to the US were also up, increasing by 7.8% in March compared with February.

“Sources cited an ‘end-of-quarter rush’ particularly in e-commerce and garments ahead of Easter – though [they are] also expecting prices to soften again,” stated data provider TAC Index in its weekly market round-up.

Forwarder Flexport, meanwhile, reported that airlines have begun retiring freighters and some charters have been canceled, leading to capacity being nearly on par with pre-Covid numbers.

And data firm WorldACD last week reported that its figures show a clear stabilisation in both worldwide tonnages as well as the global average rate, compared with the previous week, following several weeks of relative stability.

However, while March saw improvements in prices to North America, there were further declines on services to Europe.

The BAI Index for Hong Kong to Europe showed a decline of 5.7% in March compared with February to $4.15 per kg.

Meanwhile, rates from China to Europe declined by 2.2% month on month in March to $3.96 per kg.

Over the last few years, rates from Asia to both Europe and North America have tended to be fairly consistent between the two months – sometimes registering a slight increase and sometimes a slight decrease as prices stabilise during the quieter spring/early summer period.

Meanwhile, when looking at rate performance compared with a year ago, prices remain down – by 18.5% on Hong Kong-Europe and 34.2% on Hong Kong-North America.

In the final week of March, the overall Baltic Air Freight Index gained 0.7% on the previous week but it was down 34.2% over 12 months.

“That annual price change is now not far out of line with jet fuel prices, which fell -27.3% in the year to 17 March, according to Platt’s data,” pointed out TAC Index.

It should also be noted that rates remain above pre-Covid levels. From Hong Kong to Europe rates stood at $2.61 per kg in March 2019, while Hong Kong to North America was $3.38 per kg.

Share this story

Related Topics

Latest airfreight rates news

Air cargo looks to index-linked deals in response to a volatile market

Freight forwarders and shippers are increasing the use of index-linked deals due to current industry volatility. Speaking on a webinar…

Read More

Share this story

Etihad Cargo sees revenues decline in 2023 as market rates cooled

Etihad Cargo registered a decline in its cargo revenues last year as the wider air cargo market cooled following the…

Read More

Share this story

Airfreight rates on major trades remain down on 2023 levels in February

Air cargo rates continued to register declines on major east-west trades in February compared with last year as the timing…

Read More

Share this story

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]