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Global air cargo tonnages, average rates stabilise

According to the latest weekly figures from WorldACD Market Data, global air cargo tonnages and average rates seem to have stabilised since mid-April. This comes after a sharp drop in chargeable weight in the first week of April and a gradual decline in worldwide average rates since February. Figures from 17-23 April show a stabilisation in tonnages and a slight increase in average global air cargo prices week-on-week, based on data covering over 400,000 weekly transactions by WorldACD.
Image source:
Image source: Gallo/Getty

Comparing the preceding two weeks, overall tonnages decreased by -5% versus their combined total in March, and average worldwide rates decreased by -3%, with stable capacity.

At a regional level, the downward trend in air cargo tonnages is visible from most of the main origin regions, particularly flows ex-Europe – most notably to Africa (-21%), Middle East and South Asia (-16%), Central and South America (-13%), and Asia Pacific (-11%). The lanes between North America and Central and South America are the only significant exceptions, with the biggest increase ex-Central & South America to North America (+18%).

In terms of pricing, average rates show a slightly positive trend ex-Central and South America to North America (+3%) and ex-Europe to Africa (+3%); but for all other major air cargo lanes, rates have been decreasing, with the most significant drop seen from North America to Central & South America (-7%).

Year-on-year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in the early weeks of April was down -10% compared with the equivalent period last year. Most notable is the decrease in year-on-year tonnages ex-North America (-21%), while the only other double-digit percent year-on-year drop in tonnages is outbound from Europe (-10%).

Overall capacity jumped by +13% compared with the previous year, with double-digit percentage increases from almost all regions – except from North America (+6%), and Central & South America (+2%). The most notable increases were ex-Asia Pacific (+36%) and ex-Africa (+15%).

Worldwide rates are currently -37% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.56 per kilo in week 16, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.

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