March 2020 showed a 19 per cent drop in cargo carried worldwide, year-over-year (YoY) with the sudden capacity shortage in the second half of the month fuelling sharp price increases, says WorldACD Market Data in its latests update.
The data analytics company is following up on its trends brief of two weeks ago, where it provided an early peek into March trends. It goes on to say that the main conclusions are largely the same as two weeks ago, albeit with some marginal changes in percentages growth or decline.
“We have all read the stories with anecdotal ‘evidence’ of humongous price increases. These stories can now be put in proper perspective,” WorldACD analysts say, noting they have gone through the full worldwide data of over 70 airlines.
Of the ten city pairs with the highest price increase (USD) between January and March, four were on the North Atlantic. Frankfurt – Beijing topped the list (+122 per cent), while London – New York was number 10 (+75 per cent).
Overall, in Q1 2020 cargo carried was in decline (-9.0 per cent YoY). The one product category growing was pharmaceuticals (+7.0 per cent), as the transport by air of fish and seafood was hardest hit (-13 per cent). Belgium was the only one of the Top-50 countries showing growth for each of the three months in Q1, driven by large increases in pharmaceuticals, live animals and dangerous goods.
Back to the month of March 2020: WorldACD asks what were the most telling changes influencing the March figures? Two different factors were considered: The changes in use of aircraft types and; the shifts in distribution patterns.
Use of aircraft
“The old work horse of air cargo, the Jumbo, did it again,” WorldACD says noting the number of flights performed with a B747 freighter in March was 34 per cent higher than in February, as the freight carried on this type increased by 48 per cent.
The corresponding figures for two other freighter types – the B777F saw a 24 per cent increase in flights and a 28 per cent increase in cargo carried. And for the A330F, an 18 per cent growth in flight numbers and 30 per cent increase in cargo carried.
The passenger aircraft, normally carrying by far the most freight, the B777 lost 21 per cent in freight carried. The A330 passenger aircraft performed 39 per cent less flights and lost 36 per cent in freight carried. Within the month of March, the A330 schedules were most ravaged, WorldACD says, with only 16 per cent of the flights in the first week survived into the last week.
WorldACD analysed the business done by the world’s top-15 forwarders with the 20 top-airlines in its global database. For 300 airline/forwarder combinations it looked at the changes between January/February and March. For each of the 300 combinations, it took as a starting point the business done as a percentage of the airline’s total business.
In 23 of the 300 cases (8.0 per cent), the share of the forwarder in the airline’s total business changed by more than 50 per cent (in 15 cases upward, and in eight downward).
In almost 1/3 of the cases (94 in total, 52 upward and 42 downward) the change was more than 20 per cent. Of these 94 cases, 28 occurred among the top-10 airlines, while – in the same 94 cases – 21 occurred among the top-5 forwarders.
In other words, the distribution pattern among top-airlines and top-forwarders changed much less than in the other airline-forwarder combinations.