WorldACD: Respectable April growth but figures remain unclear

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Worldwide air cargo volumes grew a respectable 7.7 per cent in April but WorldACD says it is hard to tell what to make of March-April figures.

It says March results were “somewhat inflated”, particularly in Europe due to the late Easter, with year-on-year outbound growth of 19 per cent followed by five per cent in April, though the two months together averaged 12.1 per cent outbound and 9.3 per cent inbound.

April volume growth ranged from 14 per cent in the origin Asia Pacific to minus three per cent in Africa.

WorldACD says: “One month ago the whole air cargo business was over the moon, so to speak, as March 2017 had shown the best year-on-year (YoY) performance since the 2008-2009 crisis.”

“The month of April now being accounted for, industry players may well wonder whether they are back on earth or still in seventh heaven, such was the difficulty in understanding the March-April figures.”

It says followers of liturgical and lunar calendars may be able to tell whether this is due to the Lunar New Year and Easter effect, saying: “It seems safest to look at the total for the first four months of the year: volume was up a solid 9% compared with 2016. To put this in perspective, the first four months of 2016 were flat compared with the same period in 2015.”

The worldwide air cargo drop from March to April was large this year, falling eight per cent compared to four on average in the previous three years, and though it had gradually become smaller over the period, it became larger this year in all regions, except Latin America.

Perishable markets were also weaker, with Kenya only growing 0.3 per cent, Ecuador by 1.6 per cent and Egypt by 7.4 per cent, though others were stronger including Colombia, up 13.3 per cent, Norway by 15.6 per cent and Brazil by 16 per cent.