The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released figures for global airfreight markets showing cargo volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) expanded 2.2 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014.
The association says this was a slower pace of growth than the five per cent growth recorded in 2014 and the weakness reflects sluggish trade growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
After a strong start, airfreight volumes began a decline that continued through most of 2015, until some improvements to world trade drove a modest pick-up late in the year, IATA says.
Cargo in Asia-Pacific, accounted for around 39 per cent of freight traffic, expanded by a moderate 2.3 per cent. The key markets of Europe and North America, which between them comprise around 43 per cent of total cargo traffic, were flat in 2015.
Latin America suffered a steep decline of six per cent, while the Middle East grew strongly, up 11.3 per cent. Africa also saw modest growth of 1.2 per cent.
The freight load factor was at times the lowest for some years, falling to an average 44.1 per cent compared to 45.7 per cent in 2014, driven down by weak demand and capacity expansion.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Tony Tyler says: “2015 was another very difficult year for air cargo. Growth has slowed and revenue is falling. In 2011 air cargo revenue peaked at $67 billion.
“In 2016 we are not expecting revenue to exceed $51 billion. Efficiency gains are critical as the sector adjusts to shortening global supply chains and evermore competitive market conditions. We have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion.
“The industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernize processes and improve the value proposition. The faster the industry can make that happen, the better.”