Airfreight rates flat line for summer slowdown

Airfreight rates flat lined in July as the air cargo industry entered the quieter summer months.

The latest figures from Tac Index show that average rates on transpacific, Asia-Europe and transatlantic trade lanes for July were all fairly flat compared with the previous month.

However, prices do continue to lag behind the levels registered last year.

On services from Hong Kong to North America, average freight rates slipped to $3.44 per kg compared with the $3.46 per kg registered in June.

This is in line with expectations as the cargo market slows down over the summer months.

However, rates are 11.3% down on a year ago as a general trade slowdown and the US-China trade dispute takes its toll on traffic between the two countries.

It should be noted that prices on the trade are still above 2017 levels and the year-on-year decline is partially a reflection of the strength of the market in 2018.

It was a similar story on services from Hong Kong to Europe where prices stood at an average of $2.67 per kg in July compared with $2.66 per kg for June.

Again, this performance reflects a slowdown in demand over the summer.

Rates for July are 3.3% down on July 2018 – only the second time this year there has not been an increase on a year ago – but up on 2017 prices for the month.

Meanwhile, average rates on services between Frankfurt and North America stood at $2.11 per kg in July compared with $2.24 per kg in June.

Prices are down by 17.9% on July last year, which is in line with performance so far in 2019.

Looking ahead, derivatives broker Freight Investor Services is not expecting a pick up.

Its forward curve for China-Europe remains flat in August and September before picking up for the peak fourth quarter. Rates on the China-US trade show a similar pattern.


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