Air Cargo Management Group's (ACMG) newly-released International Air Freight and Express Industry Performance Analysis 2009/10 found the year just ended to be the most difficult ever for participants in the global airfreight industry; however, there are encouraging signs entering 2010 that a recovery is taking place, as traffic levels have rebounded from a low point in the first quarter of 2009. Recession-induced double-digit declines in airfreight traffic first appeared in the fourth quarter of 2008, and continued for a full 12 months. "Indications are that international airfreight for 2009 will show a decline of nearly 15 percent compared to the results for 2008, making 2009 by far the worst year ever for the industry in terms of year-over-year performance," said Robert Dahl, ACMG managing director.
Even the express companies have not been immune to the negative impacts of the recession, but the 6.9-percent decline found by ACMG in the volume of international express shipments was much less severe than the overall airfreight/express industry shrinkage. However, sequential improvements in the second and third quarters of 2009, in which absolute traffic levels increased on a month-over-month basis, indicate that the industry is recovering, and will begin 2010 in better shape than first thought, with traffic at a level comparable to 2003 or 2004. "Moving forward, ACMG expects that air cargo traffic will grow 7 percent to 10 percent in 2010, and there is a good chance that we will recover to the pre-recession peak by 2012," says Dahl.
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