IATA sees slow cargo growth

MORE than three-quarters of IATA members reported an increase in cargo business during Q4 2010, the association says amidst a cautiously positive forecast for this year.

While IATA members expect a profit for 2011, factors such as rising fuel prices mean confidence in further significant improvement has taken a hit, the association’s quarterly survey finds.

By November 2010 the volume of international freight tonne kilometres was up more than 20 per cent on a year-to-date basis compared to the same period in 2009. The recovery in traffic, driven by the pickup in world trade, has almost been as sharp as the fall experienced going into the recession.

Freight volumes reached a new post-recession peak in May 2010 but dropped back by mid-year as the restocking phase of the inventory cycle came to a close. Since then volumes have stabilised in line with the level seen immediately prior to the recession.

In the latest survey the proportion of respondents expecting further improvement in airfreight volumes over the 12 months ahead remains around 60 per cent – indicating that continued growth beyond restocking stimulus is seen as likely this year.

Expectations for cargo yields over the 12 months ahead point to stability with 57 per cent of respondents reporting ‘no-change’ likely. Freight growth is moderating back towards the rate of global trade growth while capacity is entering at a faster rate which will put downward pressure on load factors and temper further rises in yields.

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