Air cargo rates continue to soften

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Caption: Air cargo shipments from third countries to the EU will be subject to the ICS2 procedure from March 2023. Photo credit: Adobe Stock


Global air cargo prices continued their gradual decline in the first two full weeks of September, while volumes increased slightly in the second week after a drop in the first full week, the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data reveal.

Looking at week 37 (September 11 – 18) alone, worldwide chargeable weight increased 1% compared with the previous week, based on the more than 350,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data. But comparing weeks 36 and 37 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), volumes in the last two weeks combined dropped 3% on a 2Wo2W basis, while average worldwide rates declined 1%, with a decrease in capacity of 2%.

Across that two-week period, tonnages showed a declining trend from the main air cargo origin regions, except for flows ex-Europe, which showed an increase of 2%. Notably, volumes ex-North America displayed a 10% drop that can also be seen on a lane-by-lane basis, with significant decreases from North America to Asia Pacific (17%), to Europe (10%) and to Central & South America (9%).

Read more: Air cargo tonnages drop again

Chargeable weight out of the key Asia Pacific origin region also declined (4%) on a 2Wo2W basis, including on the big lanes to North America (6%) and Europe (5%).

Other notable lane-by-lane changes include a 17% drop in chargeable weight from Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific and a 8% increase from Europe to Middle East & South Asia, on a 2Wo2W basis.

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 36 and 37 was down 11% compared with the equivalent period in 2021, despite a capacity increase of 6%. Notably, volumes ex-Asia Pacific are 22% below their strong levels this time last year, and Middle East & South Asia origin tonnages are -16% below last year.

Read more: Air cargo volumes and rates increased at the end of August

Capacity from all of the main origin regions, with the exception of Asia Pacific (9%), is now significantly above its levels this time last year, including double-digit percentage rises from Africa (14%), Europe (11%) and North America (12%).

Meanwhile, after remaining above last year’s levels for the first seven months of 2022, worldwide rates are softening week over week, to currently 7% below their level this time last year at an average of $3.48 per kilo, despite the buoying effects of higher fuel surcharges compared with last year.