Airfreight rates predicted to rise over the coming months as capacity tightens

By Damian Brett

Airfreight rates from China and Hong Kong are set to rise again over the coming months as new product launches and a lack of capacity put load factors under pressure, according to freight forwarder Flexport.

Last week rates out of Asia appeared to stabilise — and even crept up a little on some routes — after declining from a mid-May peak.

But in its latest market update, forwarder Flexport warned that prices could be set to rise again over the coming months.

“Airfreight rates are rising again from Asia to the US and Europe. The catalyst is relatively stable commercial demand coupled with reduced capacity driven by freighter maintenance cycles and higher fuel costs that are reducing the number of flights by passenger freighters.

“Expect rates to continue to increase slowly over the July/August period and then accelerate higher in September as several major project launches (Sony Playstation 5, Apple iPhone 12 and Samsung) consume a vast amount of capacity.”

Numbers from data provider TAC Index show that last week airfreight rates from Shanghai to North America decreased by 0.8% week on week to $4.65 per kg, while from Shanghai to Europe prices are up 8% on a week earlier to $3.40 per kg.

From Hong Kong to North America there was an 8% increase on a week earlier to $5.12 per kg, while to Europe there was a 3.3% change to $3.14 per kg.

This is ahead of last year’s levels but below the rates recorded in mid-May.

At their peak, average rates from Shanghai to North America stood at $12.27 per kg, while from Shanghai to Europe they reached $11.18 per kg.

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