CLIVE: Air cargo back on track for recovery

By Damian Brett

Source: CLIVE Data Services

Air cargo demand returned to growth in June following a drop in May as a result of public holidays.

The latest statistics from CLIVE Data Services show that air cargo demand in June increased by 1% compared with the same month in 2019 (used for comparison due to impact of Covid) after declining by 4% in May.

Load factors for June were nine percentage points up on the same month in 2019 but the data provider said the figure does appear to be declining marginally.

CLIVE’s dynamic load factor — taking into account both weight and space — has declined from 72% in March, 71% in April, 70% in May, and now to 69% in June 2021. 

Airfreight rates have also been showing signs of decline over the last couple of months, but this is in line with normal seasonal trends for the quieter summer period.

Niall van de Wouw, managing director of CLIVE Data Services, said: “June’s performance data was relatively strong and seems to confirm that May’s decline was a one-off, as we anticipated, impacted by the public holidays during that month.

“The global air cargo market now seems to be back on track, reflecting what The Economist has described as the ‘long goodbye’ to Covid’s impact on our everyday lives.

“However, this modest growth is much more related to the lack of capacity supply than strong demand, given the uncertainly that still exists internationally.

“In June, we once again saw no signs of recovery in capacity. It is abundantly clear that airlines are micromanaging their flights because the pressure is everywhere and, in the case of cargo-only services by passenger airlines, the capacity out there is expensive to operate.

“If rates continue to decline, they are expected to take capacity out of the market – but, overall, we expect load factors and rates to stay elevated, with no short-term trend to change this.,” commented.”

The BAI (Baltic Air Freight Indices) decreased by 10% in June over the year-to-date high seen in May.

Gareth Sinclair of airfreight rate data provider Tac Index explained: “There are growing concerns that capacity will continue to be constrained for some time as passenger operations start to pick up, reducing available bellyhold capacity and opportunities for cargo-only services.

“Although the index was down on May, it was still positive versus last year at +18% and, versus 2019, by 88%, reflecting both the level of demand and continuing constraints in capacity.”

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