Demand drops further in disappointing December: WorldACD
Global air cargo tonnages have dropped further in the final weeks and days of what would normally be peak season, the latest preliminary figures from WorldACD Market Data indicate, led by a significant decline in Asia-Europe volumes, as the year fizzles out to a disappointing end for carriers and forwarders.
Figures for week 50 (12 to 18 December) are consistent with the progressive slide in air cargo demand throughout the second half of this year. They show an overall drop of -3 percent in worldwide flown tonnages compared with the previous week, while average prices also declined slightly. The decrease in overall chargeable weight compared to the previous week can be seen for each origin region, except for Africa.
Average prices had been stable in recent weeks but dipped further in week 50 from all the main origin regions, except for Europe outbound. The slight overall decline on the previous week follows a similar trend to this time last year, although last year the rate had been upwards trending while this year it had been flat.
Comparing weeks 49 and 50 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), tonnages decreased -2 percent below their combined total in weeks 47 and 48, while average worldwide rates declined -1 percent, at a +1 percent 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 (-15 percent to Africa, -14 percent to Central & South America, -8 percent to Middle East & South Asia, -5 percent to North America and -4 percent to Asia Pacific), on a 2Wo2W basis. Furthermore, notable decreases were recorded on Asia Pacific to Europe (-8 percent), North America to Asia Pacific (-4 percent) and Asia Pacific to Middle East & South Asia (-4 percent). Meanwhile, the following regional lanes showed strong increases: North America to Europe (+12 percent), Africa to Europe (+12 percent), and between North America and Central & South America (southbound +6 percent, northbound +5 percent).
Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 49 and 50 was down -19 percent compared with the equivalent period in 2021, with capacity slightly lower (-1 percent). Notably, tonnages ex-Asia Pacific are -25 percent below their strong levels this time last year, and ex-North America tonnages are down by -25 percent. But there were also double-digit percent year-on-year drops on tonnages outbound from Middle East & South Asia (-19 percent), Europe (-12 percent) and Africa (-10 percent).
Capacity from Asia Pacific (-9 percent) and Central & South America (-8 percent) remains below its levels this time last year, whereas from Africa (+16 percent), Middle East & South Asia (+3 percent), and North America (+2 percent), capacity has rebounded above its levels this time last year.
Worldwide rates are currently -27 percent below their unusually elevated levels this time last year at an average of $3.24 per kilo, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, but they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.