Big variations in air cargo behind Q1 decline

Tonnage performance range from +1% YoY from Africa and C&S America to -18% from North America & -16% from Asia Pacific

Big variations in air cargo behind Q1 decline
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Global air cargo chargeable weight flown in the first quarter of 2023 ended up -11 percent compared to Q12022.

"But a deep-dive into WorldACD’s data reveals that behind those figures there is a tremendous amount of variation globally, depending on factors such as origin point or region, product type, shipment weight, and whether cargo was flown via freighter or passenger belly capacity," says an official release.

Big drops ex-Asia Pacific and North America
The overall tonnage performance of the different main origin regions ranges from a +1 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in volumes originating from Africa and from Central & South America (C&S America) to -18 percent from North America and -16 percent from Asia Pacific with Europe at -5 percent and Middle East & South Asia (MESA) closer to the average at -8 percent, the report said.

"Breaking down those origin figures further reveals that the 16 percent drop from Asia Pacific includes a 24 percent decline in intra-Asia traffic and a 21 percent fall in traffic to North America, and more-modest declines to Europe (-10 percent) and Africa (-9 percent) despite a capacity rise of +7 percent ex-Asia Pacific. The total also hides a 30 percent rise in traffic ex-Asia Pacific to C&S America and a nine percent rise to MESA."

The 18 percent drop from North America comes despite a capacity rise of nine percent and includes a 29 percent decline to Asia Pacific markets compared with Q12022.

Smaller shipments keep growing
Analysis by WorldACD reveals that shipments up to 1,000 kgs increased by three percent YoY whereas those in the 1,000-5,000 kgs bracket declined five percent and the number of shipments greater than 5,000 kgs decreased very significantly by 18 percent.

Freighters lose market share
Freighter operators experienced the largest decline (-19 percent) in traffic volumes compared with last year while airlines with only passenger aircraft performed best (-2 percent). Airlines operating both passenger and freighter aircraft fell somewhere in the middle, recording a 11 percent drop in tonnage.

Trade lanes differ
Many lanes experienced weight and rate trends that are significantly different from the worldwide average of -11 percent and -31 percent, respectively. "For example, Frankfurt-Seoul recorded a -13 percent decline in volumes but a nine percent rise in average yields with Milan-Hong Kong seeing a much smaller volume decline (-1 percent) but an increase of four percent in average rates."

While Dubai-London volumes were down by 24 percent, Hong Kong-Dubai tonnage increased 38 percent although average rates declined 28 percent.

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