The latest worldwide air cargo figures – as reported by 75 airlines to WorldACD Market Data – confirm what the air cargo industry had surely noticed already: The month of October 2017 was special.
Monthly volumes were higher than ever, while revenues (when measured in EUR) peaked as well. Although revenues measured in USD did not reach the heights scaled in the October months of the years 2010 – 2014, it should be noted that oil prices in that period were almost twice as high as they are today, World ACD said.
With the recovery under way for more than a year now, the 10 per cent increases seen earlier this year are now behind us, the company said. However, for the fourteenth month in succession, the industry showed a year-over-year (YoY) growth well above 5.0 per cent, easily outpacing the growth in world trade. And the records set in October are almost certain to be broken when November-figures will be in.
Worldwide volumes in October 2017 increased by 6.9 per cent YoY. This figure, impressive in itself after the strong October 2016 performance, was dwarfed by a YoY revenue growth (in USD) of 20.5 per cent.
WorldACD said this very strong showing was driven in particular by the following factors: An impressive yield growth from Europe and the Middle East & South Asia, in particular from India; high volume growth from Europe, from and to North America, and to Central & South America; and higher fuel cost factored into the revenues.
Looking at the Top-20 origin countries, WorldACD highlights a more than average YoY volume growth in parts of the US (Atlantic South +19.1 per cent and Midwest +14.4 per cent), Vietnam (+16.6 per cent), Australia (+15.9 per cent), Japan (+12.3 per cent), the UK (+10.4 per cent), Spain (+8.6 per cent) and Germany (+7.6 per cent). Lagging behind were such diverse origins as Taiwan (-8.8 per cent), the Netherlands (+1.5 per cent), China East (+2.9 per cent) and India (+3.7 per cent).
In the various categories of specific cargo products, the transport of pharmaceuticals had the largest YoY revenue growth (+31 per cent), thanks to a healthy volume increase of 19 per cent, coupled with an increase of more than 10 per cent in yields that are already more than 50 per cent higher than average air cargo yields.
Developments in the two largest product categories were quite different. The transport of high tech & vulnerables goods thrived (both volume and yields increased by more than 11 per cent), but fruits & vegetables were less in demand, at least when comparing with October 2016. The edibles’ volumes decreased by 2.5 per cent YoY, while their average yields hardly gained ground. Compared with the previous month, however, this sector did very well, with a revenue increase of 16.3 per cent over September 2017.
The trend in DTK growth for this year seems quite stable. Whenever the growth in DTK’s (Direct Tonne Kilometers) is larger than the growth in kilograms, the average actual distance between origin and destination of shipments has increased. In October 2017, the difference was smaller than in previous months (+6.9 per cent in kilograms vs. +7.4 per cent in DTK’s), as the traditional long haul markets from East Asia grew less than average this month. For the year as a whole, we expect DTK’s to outgrow volume by 1.0 percentage point. This means that longer haul markets in 2017 continue to grow more than shorter haul, the analytics company said.