Airfreight rates start the year ahead of 2017 levels

02 / 02 / 2018

Airfreight rates started 2018 ahead of last year but there were some signs of a slowdown in line with seasonal demand trends.

The latest data from Tac Index shows that in January average prices on major transpacific, transatlantic and Asia-Europe routes were all up on a year ago.

On services from Hong Kong to North America, prices for the month stood at $3.69 per kg, up 13.9% on a year ago.

On Hong Europe-Europe services in January there was an 8.5% year-on-year increase in prices to $2.67 per kg.

Finally, on the Frankfurt-North America route there was a 13.3% increase on January 2017 levels to $2.89 per kg.

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While prices on transpacific and Asia-Europe routes were up on a year ago, they were down on December’s levels.

This is to be expected as demand tends to weaken following the Christmas rush before stabilising in the second quarter and then increasing through the third and fourth quarter.

However, there are spikes during these periods and forwarder Flexport has warned that it expects the Chinese New Year rush to have an impact.

“We’re beginning to see increases in demand for cargo ex-China, with capacity equally constrained to both [Europe] and the US. We also expect space constraints out of Hong Kong and Vietnam,” the forwarder said.

Freightos WebCargo chief executive Manel Galindo is also expecting prices to increase over the coming weeks.

At the end of January, he said: “Airfreight rates fell unexpectedly last week, and China-US pricing is now close to $3-$5/kg - typical non-peak pricing.

“However, prices are volatile and will likely rise again shortly. I’ve heard that carriers operating out of China are scheduling price increases this coming week.”

Prices on the Frankfurt-North America trade were also down on December’s levels although by a much lower level.

Flexport said demand continues to be strong on the transatlantic and added that storms affected services in January.

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