Airfreight rates remain elevated in January

By Damian Brett

Image source: Shutterstock

Airfreight rates on key trades were ahead of last year in January even though prices were down from the December peak.

The latest figures from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) show that rates from Hong Kong to North America stood at $10.90 per kg in January.

This is far above the $6.43 per kg (69.5% year on year) recorded last year and the $3.14 per kg recorded two years ago but is down on the $12.72 per kg recorded during December.

It was a similar story for prices from Hong Kong to Europe, with rates for January hitting $6.61 per kg.

The figure is above the $4.28 per kg registered in January last year (54.4% up year on year) and the $2.83 per kg for the month in 2020, but lags December’s $8 per kg.

A drop compared with December isn’t too much of a surprise as the last quarter tends to be the industry’s peak season and when rates are at their highest.

The increase compared with last year reflects a general rise in prices as 2021 progressed due to supply chain issues as well as issues in Hong Kong related to Covid lockdowns and reduced belly and freighter capacity and the earlier timing of the Lunar New Year Holiday that tends to see a rush to move volumes ahead of factory closures.

Prices were also up out of China compared with last year but not to the same extent as Hong Kong; rates from China to the US increased by around 30% year on year.

On the transatlantic, rates from Frankfurt to North America were up 3.8% year on year to $4.62 per kg.

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