The latest figures from CLIVE Data Services show that the global dynamic load factor, which draws from both weight and space, reached 68 per cent in the week before last.
This is higher than any pre-Covid level since CLIVE's records began in May 2018, but the jump over the last few weeks is 'significant' by any standards, according to the data firm's managing director Niall van de Wouw.
Dynamic load factors on major trade lanes were even higher. For instance, dynamic load factors on services out of Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Osaka, Beijing, Incheon and Hanoi were all over 90 per cent in the last week of September. Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore and others were not far behind.
'A dynamic load factor of 68 per cent was not seen in pre-Covid peak seasons and the fourth quarter had not even started when we saw these numbers which tells you how constrained and tight capacity is at the moment,' said CLIVE managing director Niall Van de Wouw.
Mr Van de Wouw added that last year the dynamic load factor reached 72 per cent during the peak season and he pointed out that it should max out at 80 per cent on a global level because of trade imbalances.
'We are already getting close to that 80 per cent and we are only at the start of the peak season. If you look at market commentaries, we don't think it will be a typical peak season,' he said.
'It could get pretty messy pretty soon if this climb in the load factor continues in the next few weeks and we see no reason why it should not at the moment.
'Demand tends to get stronger towards the end of the year and we see very little relief from a capacity point of view.'