WorldACD: difficult start to the year continues for air cargo

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Air cargo’s difficult start to 2016 was extended into February, according to industry data analyst WorldACD.

Worldwide volumes dropped by 3.8 per cent year-over-year (YoY), which is the largest YoY volume drop in three years, the market analyst says.

The regions of Asia Pacific and North America were the big losers in January and February as their YoY volume decrease now stands at more than seven per cent. Africa, Europe and Middle East and South Asia each saw around five per cent growth for the same period.

WorldACD says the weak YoY figures for Asia Pacific and North America should be viewed against the backdrop of last year’s windfall due to the West coast seaport strike in the US.

Also, the negative impact of Chinese New Year (CNY) on the February totals was bigger this year as it took place much earlier in the month than last year.

WorldACD says: “Contrary to what other sources have reported, the more positive news is that worldwide yields, measured in USD, remained basically stable between January and February.

“Even so, we noted considerable differences between the various origin regions: Africa and Europe were also leading in this category, with a 7.6 per cent jump in African yields (in USD) and one of 2.2 per cent in European yields (in euros).”

WorldACD says some smaller countries deserve to be mentioned for their “outstanding” start to the year.

In the first two months of 2016, revenues in USD increased YoY by 38 per cent from Morocco, 23 per cent from Chile, 13 per cent from Sri Lanka and 10 per cent from Bangladesh.

In the products domain, the transport of perishables reinforced its reputation of performing much better than general cargo (not only in volumes: already in 2015, yields for perishables dropped by a much lower percentage than general cargo yields).

WorldACD continues: “Does this trend weigh in on the much discussed modal shift from air to sea? Although certain perishables look immune to that shift so far, whether or not a modal shift may take place differs from country to country and from one commodity to another.

“Negative YoY patterns around CNY provided further confirmation of the air cargo slide in Asia Pacific. The usual strong dip after CNY was deeper this year than last year, and also lasted longer in terms of ‘low-business days’. From China and Hong Kong, the 2015 post-CNY-dip showed only one day with less than 10 per cent of the pre-CNY volumes; this year there were four such days.”