“No change to report from the air cargo front,” says WorldACD Market Data as it releases its’ May cargo review, noting the negative trend continued in the month of May.
“Writing this message at the half-way point for the year 2019, it is difficult to believe that the year will recover from its dismal start,” the air cargo analytics company adds.
In the month of May, total chargeable weight again decreased YoY, this time by 5.0 per cent, while yields (in USD) fell by 5.6 per cent, resulting in revenue loss for the airlines of more than 10 per cent YoY.
But, as WorldACD points out, there are many in the industry who rightfully point out that 2018 may not be the best point of comparison, because of its exceptionally high base.
As WorldACD says: “Let’s join the people who find that a comparison with 2017 is more ‘realistic’ than a comparison with 2018, given last year’s ‘extreme’ growth figures.”
Compared with Jan-May 2017, the year 2019 so far shows worldwide growth of +1.0 per cent. Moreover, 22 of the 40 largest air cargo countries in the world show positive growth for the same period.
The growth percentages between 2017 and 2019 range from 32.6 per cent for Chile to 0.1 per cent for India. This group of growth countries consists of four countries from South America (Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia), nine countries from Asia & Pacific (Vietnam, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, India), five European countries (Norway, Turkey, UK, Switzerland, Luxemburg), the three North American countries Canada, Mexico, USA, and one African country (South Africa).
Ten of these countries also had growth from 2018 to 2019, of which three scored double digit: Norway, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Having said that, and returning to the reality check of the May year-on-year comparison, the situation is certainly more depressing. Not a single region escaped the negative growth trend: The origins Africa and Europe suffered least, with YoY volume drops of 2.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.
But the origins Asia Pacific and North America chalked up YoY losses of -7.0 per cent and -7.2 per cent respectively. Latin America and the Middle East & South Asia (MESA) could not buck the trend either (-4 per cent and -3.4 per cent).
Although the YoY performance in May was slightly better than in April, the May volume decrease was still larger than the decrease for the first four months taken together, WorldACD highlights, adding there is “still no recovery in sight”.
For the period January-May 2019, only the region Africa showed positive growth, albeit very small (+0.4 per cent), largely driven by a 2.3 per cent increase in business from East Africa. Among the other sub-regions, Central Asia (+12.6 per cent), Northern Europe (+10.9 per cent), Levant & Caucasus (+3.6 per cent) and Australasia (+2.5 per cent) distinguished themselves.
While air cargo from the US to China fell sharply in April (-14.7 per cent YoY, much more than the overall decrease ex-US), in May it fell ‘only’ by 6.2 per cent YoY (less than the overall decrease ex-US), WorldACD says.
From China to the US, the situation was quite different: – 3.5 per cent in April and – 3.0 per cent in May – much smaller percentages than in the other direction, but both being larger than the general decrease in air cargo exports from China.