With air cargo volumes at their lowest in February 2019 due to Asia’s Lunar New Year, the month of March’s significant rebound of 25 per cent was not enough to keep the first quarter aloft, says WorldACD Market Data.
The data analyitics company notes that March’s impressive, but Lunar New Year-effected, figure of 25 per cent grwoth was not enough to save the first quarter of the year which posted a year-on-year (YoY) decrease in chargeable weight of 3.1 per cent.
“All in all, we do not expect the April figures to cause a change in the trend seen so far this year,” WorldACD says.
This worldwide average of -3.1 per cent YoY hides considerable differences between the various regions of the world it adds. WorldACD distinguishes between six different regions, which together make for 36 different geographical markets: six intra-regional and 30 inter-regional markets. A total of 23 of these 36 markets decreased YoY.
“Whilst Asia Pacific continues to be the world’s air cargo engine, it has become clear over the past half year that the engine runs much less smoothly than before,” WorldACD says. Markets within Asia Pacific lost 7.6 per cent YoY in Q1.
In the same period, 5 of the 10 markets to/from Asia Pacific also performed below the world average, notably the larger ones Asia Pacific to Europe (-4.9 per cent), Europe to Asia Pacific (-4.3 per cent) and North America to Asia Pacific (-4.7 per cent).
On the positive side in Q1 (YoY) were the markets Europe to North America (+0.6 per cent), Asia Pacific to Middle East & South Asia (MESA) (+2.9 per cent), Africa to Europe (+2.1 per cent) and intra-MESA (+2.6 per cent), as well as a number of smaller markets. Among the latter, Latin America to Asia Pacific and Africa to North America stood out (both +18 per cent).
The largest exporting countries with YoY growth in Q1 were India, UK, Australia, Vietnam, Kenya Ecuador, Turkey and Chile, with YoY growth ranging from 0.1 per cent to 6.7 per cent. With the exception of Vietnam and Kenya, growth in these origins was entirely thanks to growth in special cargo, most notably Fish & Seafood.
Among the world’s Top-20 air cargo agents, only four managed to realise YoY growth in Q1: Expeditors, DSV, Agility and Expolanka. Among the other 16, decreases ranged from 0.2 per cent to 16.4 per cent.
Between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, WorldACD says the industry saw a worldwide drop in kilogrammes of 10.3 per cent. The origins North America and MESA suffered least (-3.7 per cent), but Asia Pacific most (-16.8 per cent): China and Hong Kong taken together decreased by more than 20 per cent, double the worldwide drop.
Zooming in on Trump’s Trade War, volumes from China to US fell by 21 per cent between Q4 and Q1, whilst USA to China fell by 12.5 per cent.
March 2019 at a glance:
• Total Chargeable Weight: -2.4 per cent year-over-year (YoY); +25.2 per cent month-over-month (MoM).
• General cargo -4.8 per cent YoY, special cargo +3.5 per cent YoY.
• Direct Tonne Kilometres (DTK’s): -1.8 per cent YoY.
• Yield increased to USD 1.80 (-5 per cent YoY, +0.5 per cent MoM). The yield measured in EUR stood at 1.60.
• The cargo load factor dropped by 1.8 percentage-points YoY, but rose by 2.6 MoM.
• High-Tech & Other Vulnerable Goods (the largest category special cargo) increased by 12.9 per cent YoY, while the one-but-smallest category (Valuables) fell by 9.1 per cent YoY.