Covid-19 ‘raised its ugly head’ faster and faster in the air cargo industry in March as global cargo volumes fell by 23 per cent versus the same four weeks of 2019, says CLIVE Data Services.
The decline in demand accelerated week-on-week throughout March, with the week ending 29 March showing volumes were just half of what was moved in the same seven days of last year, according to the latest air cargo market intelligence from CLIVE.
The ‘dynamic load factor’ for the four-week period of 68 per cent – based on both the volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available – represented a decrease of 1.5 percentage points versus 2019, but an increase of 3.0 percentage points versus February.
“Sadly, there is no getting away from the overall concerning developments we are seeing in the global air cargo market, but there is perhaps a little bit of hope to be found in Asia – which was hit first by the outbreak of COVID-19,” notes CLIVE’s managing director, Niall van de Wouw.
“In previous data, we reported the step-by-step improvement on the Hong Kong to Europe market and this is continuing. The reported volumes for the last week of March 2020 were 26 per cent higher than before the Chinese New Year started. If this is sustained, it will at least offer some hope for the rest of the industry of the speed with which air cargo traffic can recover after a very difficult time,” adds van de Wouw.
CLIVE’s first-to-market analyses consolidates data shared by a representative group of international airlines operating to all corners of the globe. It is also based on both the volume and weight perspectives of the cargo flown and capacity available.
CLIVE’s ‘dynamic load factor’ analysis offers an alternative to the way air cargo capacity usage is traditionally measured, to reflect modern day reality. It is based on the fact that airlines’ cargo capacity nearly always ‘cube out’ before they ‘weigh out’ as a result of an aircraft’s higher capacity density (available kgs per cubic meter) than the average density of the goods moved by air. Consequently, CLIVE says, traditional load factors, based only on weight, underestimate how full planes really are, and thus give a distorted picture of how the industry really is performing.