Executive Briefings

Global Airfreight Market Up Slightly in December - Not Bad Considering Worldwide Economy

The International Air Transport Association released its air freight market analysis for December 2015, showing a slight (0.8 percent) year-over-year increase in worldwide cargo traffic (in freight tonne kilometers flown). This 0.8-percent overall gain was the result of a 0.7-percent decrease in international traffic and a 1.4-percent increase in domestic traffic.

For the full year 2015, IATA said worldwide air cargo traffic was up 2.2 percent, led by 2.5-percent growth in international traffic, while domestic traffic was almost flat (up just 0.1 percent) with 2014.

Two weeks ago, when we looked at December cargo data from some of the world’s major carriers, airports and handlers, we predicted that IATA and WorldACD would report very low single digit y-o-y growth for both the month and the full year. So IATA’s report of a 0.8 percent y-o-y increase in December traffic and 2.2 percent for the year, was about what we expected. For its part, World ACD reported December cargo volume (measured by chargeable weight) up 2.1 percent y-o-y, and full-year volume up 2.0 percent. Again, in line with our expectation.

In the first two months of last year, when labor strife at the U.S. West Coast ports, and a massive automobile recall in the U.S. drove shippers to shift goods from ocean to air, overall traffic was up 7.5 percent, but since then it has become obvious that underlying growth in airfreight traffic is fairly weak.

There has been remarkable consistency in demand growth in 2015, with no big swings either way once the impact of the port slowdown and automotive recall were washed out. Not a great year, but, given the state of the economy in China, Europe and Latin America, and the political instability in the Middle East and Ukraine, not a bad one, either.

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For the full year 2015, IATA said worldwide air cargo traffic was up 2.2 percent, led by 2.5-percent growth in international traffic, while domestic traffic was almost flat (up just 0.1 percent) with 2014.

Two weeks ago, when we looked at December cargo data from some of the world’s major carriers, airports and handlers, we predicted that IATA and WorldACD would report very low single digit y-o-y growth for both the month and the full year. So IATA’s report of a 0.8 percent y-o-y increase in December traffic and 2.2 percent for the year, was about what we expected. For its part, World ACD reported December cargo volume (measured by chargeable weight) up 2.1 percent y-o-y, and full-year volume up 2.0 percent. Again, in line with our expectation.

In the first two months of last year, when labor strife at the U.S. West Coast ports, and a massive automobile recall in the U.S. drove shippers to shift goods from ocean to air, overall traffic was up 7.5 percent, but since then it has become obvious that underlying growth in airfreight traffic is fairly weak.

There has been remarkable consistency in demand growth in 2015, with no big swings either way once the impact of the port slowdown and automotive recall were washed out. Not a great year, but, given the state of the economy in China, Europe and Latin America, and the political instability in the Middle East and Ukraine, not a bad one, either.

Read Full Article