Air, Business, Freight News

Air cargo tonnages continue to slide

[ December 20, 2022   //   ]

Global air cargo tonnages have continued to slide downwards in the first full week of December, while the overall average rate remained stable, ahead of the end-of-year holiday season.

Figures for week 49 (5 to 11 December) are consistent with the slow progressive slide in air cargo demand throughout the second half of this year. They show an overall drop of -3% in worldwide flown tonnages compared with the previous week, and average prices remained stable. The decrease in overall chargeable weight compared to the previous week can be seen for each main origin region, except for North America – which was still recovering from the impact of Thanksgiving – and Africa.

Average prices remain stable from most origin regions compared to previous weeks. Exceptions are rates ex-Europe showing a more positive trend, while prices ex-Central & South America and ex-North America have been on a downwards trend.

Comparing weeks 48 and 49 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), tonnages decreased -3% below their combined total in weeks 46 and 47, while average worldwide rates remained stable, at a +2% increase in capacity – based on the more than 350,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Across that two-week period, outbound tonnages were down significantly from Europe to all regions (-17% to Central & South America, -10% to Africa, -9% to Middle East & South Asia, -6% to Asia Pacific and -6% to North America, respectively), on a 2Wo2W basis. Furthermore, notable decreases were recorded on Asia Pacific to Middle East & South Asia (-7%), Middle East & South Asia to Europe (-7%) and from North America to Asia Pacific (-5%). Meanwhile, two regional lanes showed strong increases: North America to Central & South America (+11%), and Africa to Europe (+6%).

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 48 and 49 was down -17% compared with the equivalent period in 2021, with capacity stable. Notably, tonnages ex-Asia Pacific are -23% below their strong levels this time last year, and Middle East & South Asia origin tonnages are -20% below last year. But there were also significant year-on-year drops on tonnages outbound from both North America (-18%) and Europe (-12%), despite (slightly) higher capacity.

Capacity from Asia Pacific (-9%) and Central & South America (-7%) remains below its levels this time last year, whereas from Africa (+14%), North America (+4%), Middle East & South Asia (+4%), and Europe (+1%), capacity has rebounded above its levels this time last year.

Worldwide rates are currently -26% below their unusually elevated levels this time last year at an average of US$3.29 per kilo, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, but they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.