Global air cargo tonnages and average rates both stabilise


The latest air cargo demand and pricing data provide further evidence of stabilisation following the declines seen throughout much of last year and the annual turbulence around Lunar New Year.

Figures for week 11 (13 to 19 March) show a clear stabilization in both worldwide tonnages as well as the global average rate, compared with the previous week and following several weeks of relative stability since mid-February, figures from WorldACD Market Data indicate.

Comparing weeks 10 and 11 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages are flat versus their combined total in weeks 8 and 9, accompanied by a +2% increase in capacity, whereas average worldwide rates slightly declined by -1% – based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

At a regional level, on a 2Wo2W basis, there are still signs of a relatively robust (+5%) recovery in air cargo tonnages ex-Asia Pacific, driven by growth in flows to Middle East & South Asia (+9%), North America (+6%), Europe (+4%) and intra-Asia Pacific (+3%), respectively. The most-notable decreases were recorded ex-Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific (-13%), and ex-Central & South America to Europe (-11%).

While volumes have been flattening in the last two weeks, on the pricing side average rates have continued to show a negative trend on a 2Wo2W basis from all regions except Asia Pacific (+1%), particularly ex-Middle East & South Asia (-5%), ex-Europe (-3%) and ex-Central & South America (-3%).

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 10 and 11 was down -9% compared with the equivalent period last year. Notable percentage decreases in tonnages year-on-year were ex-North America (-19%), ex-Middle East & South Asia (-9%). Also ex-Asia Pacific the trend compared to last year was negative (-8%), despite the recent positive developments.

Overall capacity has jumped by +14% compared with the previous year, with double-digit percentage increases from all regions. Most-notable increases were ex-Africa (+23%), ex-Asia Pacific (+17%) and ex-Europe (+16%).

Worldwide rates are currently -32% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.73 per kilo in week 11, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, but they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.