Transpacific airfreight rates breach $5 per kg mark in November

07 / 12 / 2018

Airfreight rates continued to steadily rise in November as the peak season rolled in, with prices on the transpacific trade lane breaching the $5 per kg mark.

The latest numbers from the Tac Index show that prices on services from Hong Kong to North America reached an average of $5.37 per kg during November, an increase of 11.2% year on year.

It is the first time that the trade lane has breached the $5 per kg mark since Tac Index records started in January 2017, but this level of percentage growth is roughly in line with what the lane has seen during the rest of the year.

Prices also reached a high on services from Hong Kong to Europe in November, with Tac Index showing an average for the month of $3.37 per kg, up 12.7% on last year.

This again is the highest level rates on the lane have reached since it launched in January 2015.

Airfreight prices tend to reach their highest levels of the year in the November-December period as shippers transport goods across the world in time for Christmas shopping, while Thanks Giving, Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Singles’ Day all take place during November.

Amazon said that Cyber Monday on November 27 was “the single biggest shopping day in the company’s history”.

Last year both lanes saw prices continue to rise in December although the market outlook is weaker in 2018 compared with 2017 so rates could go the other way.

Meanwhile, services between Frankfurt and North America declined on a year ago, slipping 16.3% year on year to $2.46 per kg.

The supply-demand balance on the transatlantic tends to be more precarious than on other trades and therefore rates are harder to predict. This year has seen carriers add plenty of belly capacity to the trade lane.

Click on chart for interactive version