Special cargo volumes a bright spot in overall market declines

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The transport of special air cargo products has been the bright spot in a depressed air cargo market over the first eight months of the year.

Statistics from WorldACD show that the verticals vulnerable/high-tech (+7%); valuables (+2%); perishables (+4%) and live animals (+5%) have all recorded improvements in volumes in the year to August.

Meanwhile, express (-17%), dangerous goods (-12%) and general cargo (-12%) all recorded declines.

The improvements in high-tech, valuables, perishables and animals were not enough to stop an overall decline as the market dropped by 7% over the first eight months, although this narrowed to 3% in July and August combined.

Source: WorldACD

“Combined figures for all the special cargo product verticals categories recorded by WorldACD indicate that tonnages of special cargo products as a whole grew by 3% on a worldwide year-to-date (YtD) basis, whereas general cargo tonnages fell by -12%, year on year, in those first eight months of 2023,” the data provider said.

“Examining this separation of general cargo and special cargo on a regional basis is also revealing, with general cargo tonnages significantly down, year on year, from all of the main origin regions, in most cases recording double-digit declines of between -10% and -20%, with Europe the only slight exception (-9%).

“In contrast, special cargo product verticals recorded growth from all of the main regions except North America (-8%) and Europe (-2%), ranging from +3% from Africa, +6% from Central & South America, +7% from Asia Pacific, to +15% from Middle East & South Asia.”

Source: WorldACD

WorldACD said that pricing has also varied, with special cargo rates falling by 30% while general cargo was down 38% on a worldwide basis over the first eight months.

“It is worth noting that rates for perishables have not come down as much, but they also did not increase as much as other product categories during the Covid years,” the data provider added.

There were also regional differences, with general cargo rates falling by 23% year on year in Africa, while special cargo pricing has dropped by the lower amount of 7%.

Central and South America saw general cargo rates fall 18% while special cargo prices were down 8%.

“In contrast, the substantial year-on-year fall in prices ex-Asia Pacific has been shared almost equally among general cargo (-44%) and special cargo (-41%) shipments in the first eight months of this year.”

Source: WorldACD

 

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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]