Mother nature helps push up airfreight rates

Photo: Jaromir Chalabala/ Shutterstock

Airfreight rates continued to rise last week as weather conditions, volcanic activity and wars put capacity under pressure.

The latest figures from TAC Index show that the overall Baltic Air Freight Index was up 4.6% in the week to November 20 compared with the previous seven days.

The increases were led by China as prices out of Hong Kong increased by 11.5% compared with a week earlier and are now down by 2.2% compared with a year ago.

Outbound Shanghai increased by 5.3% compared with a week earlier reducing its year-on-year decline to 1.3% “led by double-digit gains to Europe”.

“Rates from both Hong Kong and Shanghai to the US are now comfortably above where they were a year ago”, TAC said in its weekly round up.

“The overall rise was driven largely by some big moves out of China, with capacity seemingly impacted by various events including heavy snowfall in Anchorage, disrupting TransPacific traffic, plus volcanoes and earthquakes elsewhere in addition to the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.”

There have been 1000s of earthquakes in Iceland over recent weeks as a volcano on the island is on the verge of eruption.

In 2010 European airfreight operations ground to a halt when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland, spewing volcanic ash into the atmosphere to disrupt aviation.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-headquartered Cathay Pacific also reported issues with its Anchorage operations.

Cathay Pacific regional head of cargo Southeast Asia Ashish Kapur said: “Our freighters are leaving our home hub full. Some, though, have been affected by disruption.

“Across the network, we’ve experienced more cancellations because of extreme weather over the past month, with heavy snowstorms in Anchorage.”

Last week, data provider WorldACD said that rates were increasing despite tonnages remaining stable compared with the week before.

“Higher Asia Pacific to North America prices may have been partly inflated by operational disruptions caused by severe snow at Alaska’s Anchorage Airport,” WorldACD said.


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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]