Global tonnages and average rates stabilise


Global air cargo tonnages and average rates appear to have stabilised since mid-April after declining for several weeks, according to the latest weekly figures from WorldACD Market Data.

Following a sharp drop in chargeable weight in the first full week of April, and a continuing slow slide in worldwide average rates since February, figures for week 16 (17 to 23 April) indicate a stabilisation in tonnages and a slight increase in average global air cargo prices, week on week – based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Comparing weeks 15 and 16 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages decreased by -5% versus their combined total in weeks 13 and 14, and average worldwide rates decreased by -3%, with stable capacity.

At a regional level, the downward trend in air cargo tonnages, on a 2Wo2W basis, is visible from most of the main origin regions, particularly flows ex-Europe – most notably to Africa (-21%), Middle East & South Asia (-16%), Central & South America (-13%), and Asia Pacific (-11%). The lanes between North America and Central & South America are the only significant exceptions, with the biggest increase ex-Central & South America to North America (+18%).

In terms of pricing, on a 2Wo2W basis, average rates show a slightly positive trend ex-Central & South America to North America (+3%) and ex-Europe to Africa (+3%); but for all other major air cargo lanes, rates have been decreasing, with the most significant drop seen from North America to Central & South America (-7%).

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 15 and 16 was down -10% compared with the equivalent period last year. Most notable is the decrease in year-on-year tonnages ex-North America (-21%), while the only other double-digit percent year-on-year drop in tonnages is outbound from Europe (-10%).

Overall capacity has jumped by +13% compared with the previous year, with double-digit percentage increases from almost all regions – except from North America (+6%), and Central & South America (+2%). The most-notable increases were ex-Asia Pacific (+36%) and ex-Africa (+15%).

Worldwide rates are currently -37% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.56 per kilo in week 16, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.