Global demand decline slows while rates slide further


Worldwide air cargo demand continued its decline in the second full week of April, albeit at a slower pace than recorded in last week’s report, preliminary figures from WorldACD Market Data indicate.

Figures for week 15 (10 to 16 April) show a continuation of the decreasing trend in air cargo tonnages observed since mid-March, but with a week-on-week drop of just -2% compared to a -8% decline reported in week 14. Meanwhile, average global air cargo prices continued their decline with a further -2% drop, week on week – based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Comparing weeks 14 and 15 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages decreased by -9% versus their combined total in weeks 12 and 13, and average worldwide rates decreased by -4%, with stable capacity.

At a regional level, the downward trend in air cargo tonnages is visible from all of the main origin regions and on all lanes, on a 2Wo2W basis, particularly flows ex-Europe – most notably to Central & South America (-21%), Africa (-17%), North America (-16%), Asia Pacific (-14%) and Middle East & South Asia (-14%). This relatively strong decline ex-Europe is partially due to the Easter holidays. Furthermore, significant declines were observed on flows ex-Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific (-18%) and ex-North America to Europe (-18%).

In terms of pricing, on a 2Wo2W basis, the average rates show a slightly positive trend ex-Central & South America to North America (+1%), but for all other lanes, the rates are decreasing, with the most significant drop seen from the Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific (-23%).

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 14 and 15 was down -12% compared with the equivalent period last year – a return (after March’s -8%) to the double-digit percentage declines seen in the preceding five months. Notable percentage decreases in tonnages year-on-year were ex-North America (-25%) and ex-Europe (-18%).

Overall capacity has jumped by +12% compared with the previous year, with double-digit percentage increases from almost all regions – except from Central & South America, which was slightly down (-2%), and North America (+5%). The most-notable increases were ex-Asia Pacific (+33%) and ex-Africa (+19%).

Worldwide rates are currently -37% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.56 per kilo in week 15, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.