Air cargo growth slows in December

THE international air cargo market didn't end the year with a bang after volumes fell 3

12 February 2019 - 19:00
THE international air cargo market didn't end the year with a bang after volumes fell 3.5 per cent and average yields were down by 2.2 per cent in December. For the year as a whole, volume was up 2.2 per cent, figures from WorldACD show.

The analyst said: 'The month can be justly characterised as weak: the 'double whammy' of negative volume growth with negative yield growth made for a year-on-year airline revenue drop of 5.6 per cent in dollars (1.9 per cent in Euros).

'The last week of 2018 was particularly worrisome with volume a serious 10 per cent below the same week in 2017. December volumes from the larger regions (Asia Pacific, Europe and North America) dropped by larger percentages than those from the smaller areas.'

WorldACD said there was a mixed picture on the China and Hong Kong trade lane with the US, now under the spotlight because of the China-US tariff row.

China and Hong Kong performed better than the US (-3.6 per cent YoY) against the world as a whole (-4.8 per cent YoY). In the other direction, the picture was the opposite: US to world (-3.4 per cent YoY) did significantly better than US to China/Hong Kong (minus eight per cent YoY).

Looking at performance for the year as a whole, WorldACD said there was a clear slowdown as the year progressed.

'Each month in the period January-August showed year-on-year volume growth, albeit in ever smaller percentages as the year progressed.

'Still, the 3.7 per cent year-on-year overall growth in that period looked good, given the fact that 2017 had been a bumper year.

September-December, however, saw an overall decrease of 0.6 per cent.

'The year-on-year yield rise (in dollars) was 15 per cent in the period January-August against 4.2 per cent for September-December, a development that seemed to be in line with fluctuations in the oil markets: jet fuel became rapidly more expensive in the months leading up to September, whilst going down in the latter part of the year.'

The analyst said that Central and South America had been one of the better performing regions last year, with exports rising 8.4 per cent.

Looking at revenues, there was a 13.2 per cent improvement during the year, with South and Central American airlines registering 16 per cent growth, while African carriers were at the other end of the spectrum with a spike of 13.2 per cent.

'Among the various air cargo categories, pharmaceuticals kept its leading position in year-on-year volume growth (14.8 per cent), followed by dangerous goods and valuables/hi-tech (7.7 per cent each).

'Fruits and vegetables were the only category with negative year-on-year growth (minus 0.2 per cent). All in all, specials increased by 5.4 per cent, as general cargo increased by 0.9 per cent only.'

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