Global air cargo slumps in Jan but perishables, pharma, hi-tech are strong

JANUARY saw another volume drop in total chargeable air cargo weight after recording a decline of two per cent year on year (YoY), coupled with a US dollar yield decrease of 2

07 March 2019 - 19:00
JANUARY saw another volume drop in total chargeable air cargo weight after recording a decline of two per cent year on year (YoY), coupled with a US dollar yield decrease of 2.5 per cent, according to a new report by market analyst WorldACD.

The smaller regions of Africa and Central and South America again achieved a YoY rise in outgoing business (by 3.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively), accompanied by a YoY yield hike (measured in US dollars) of five per cent. All other origin regions were down YoY.

In Europe and North America the decline hovered around four per cent. More telling was the slump in incoming business in Asia Pacific (down six per cent in total, down eight per cent from the origin North America, and down 9.5 per cent from the origin Europe), London's Air Cargo News reported.

Origin China grew by five per cent YoY but the destination China fell by 10 per cent.

WorldACD said: 'We observed this trend also in the past two months but it was more pronounced in January due to the early Chinese New Year (starting on February 5). As we see it, the period preceding this day seems to have a small positive effect on outgoing business from Asia Pacific but a more serious negative effect on incoming business.'

The countries 'doing well' in January were Morocco and Egypt in Africa, and Ecuador and Costa Rica in Central and South America.

While all individual countries in western Europe suffered a YoY fall (down 5.5 per cent in total), the UK grew by five per cent.

WorldACD said: 'Do we witness a pre-Brexit stocking up of goods made in Britain? Germany fared worst in Europe, with a YoY drop in outgoing air cargo of 8.7 per cent (down 14.5 per cent to Asia Pacific).'

On the product front, January 2019 was a good month for certain specific cargo categories, said the analyst: 'Apart from general cargo, valuables and dangerous goods, all categories improved YoY. The big categories of perishables and hi-tech grew by six per cent and four per cent respectively, pharmaceuticals by five per cent and live animals by nine per cent.

'Trying to find out which (groups of) companies may have best positioned themselves for a good performance in 2019, we looked at who did relatively well in the downturn of 2018, compared with the bumper year 2017.'

It continued: 'In spite of an overall growth between the two years of two per cent, most airline groups hardly grew. Airlines from Asia Pacific reported 0.7 per cent growth, whilst those from Africa, Middle East and South Asia (MESA) and Central and South America remained flat.

'Only the airlines from North America (up 6.3 per cent) and Europe (up 3.8 per cent) beat the worldwide average growth. Remarkably, the Europeans improved their share everywhere, except in Europe itself.'

The world's top 20 forwarders went from a 43.2 per cent to a 43 per cent market share. Yet within this 'elite group, differences were noticeable,' commented WorldACD.

The 13 forwarders with a European origin grew by 0.5 per cent only, while the four MESA and North American forwarders did slightly better (up 1.5 per cent).

It concluded: 'The real winners in 2018 were the Japanese forwarders, growing their business by 7.2 per cent, mainly driven by growth in Asia Pacific and North America. Leading forwarders in perishables, such as Kuehne + Nagel, Panalpina, DB Schenker and Newport, recorded double-digit growth (between 13 per cent and 16 per cent) in this category.'

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