Transpacific airfreight pricing dips below 2021 levels in August

By Damian Brett

Image: Shutterstock

Average airfreight rates on major air cargo routes to North America slipped below last year’s levels in August as demand remained flat during the month.

Figures from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) show that in August, average airfreight rates from Hong Kong to North America declined 3.6% year on year to $8.33 per kg.

While the fall is only a slight decline on last year’s levels, it is the first time since February 2020 the trade lane has recorded a year-on-year decline.

That said, prices remain far above pre-Covid 2019 when the average rate for August stood at $3.29 per kg.

Average prices were also down on services between Shanghai and North America for the month, falling by around 1.5% on last year.

The declines come as freight forwarders have been reporting a quiet market over recent months. 

In an August market update, freight forwarder Flexport said demand in the north China market was low, although the firm added that the market showed some signs of picking up towards the end of the month.

For the south China region, the forwarder said that the market remained soft.

As well as the cost of living crisis and its impact on consumer spending, bottlenecks on ocean freight market has also begun to ease resulting a shift back to container shipping for some volumes.

On the Hong Kong-Europe trade rates remained above last year’s levels during August as the trade continues to be affected by airspace bans due to the war in Ukraine.

BAI figures for August show that average prices were 36.9% up on last year at $6.34 per kg. In pre-Covid 2019, average rates for the month stood at $2.56 per k

Meanwhile, rates on services from Frankfurt to North America were in August flat on a year ago at $3.95 per kg.

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