2And the 2013 winners are………

December closed the year 2013 in style: it showed the usual lower volume compared with November. The USD-revenue drop was larger than in previous years (-11%), but that had much to do with the good November 2013 performance. For, year-over-year December showed an upswing in volume of 4%. With yields retaining the ugly habit of falling further, revenue worldwide increased by only 1%. The region Europe lead the pack with an increase in USD-revenue of 9% Y-o-Y. In incoming business, Europe was also number 1. Latin America was a good second with a revenue increase of 5.5%.

With all 2013-figures in, it is time to take stock for the year as a whole. Worldwide air cargo tonnage grew by 1.8% only. The good news was the acceleration we saw in the last quarter. Yields, measured in USD, dropped by 3.6% (measured in EUR and CNY, the drop was more than 6%...). Pharma was the only product category with a yield increase (+0.7%).

Volumes ex-MESA grew by 6.6%; Europe had the highest absolute weight growth, both incoming and outgoing. Exports from the African continent gathered steam. In absolute growth per country, the top-3 were Bangladesh, the UAE and Vietnam. Looking at specific regional O&D’s, the Y-o-Y change was most remarkable in the markets from South Asia to Western Europe (+12%) and from Western Europe to China (+8%).

Airlines from the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) were the clear winners when it comes to volume growth (+ 9.7%). They managed this growth whilst not decreasing their overall yield, a remarkable accomplishment, thanks mainly to the change in route mix (i.e. a stronger-than-average growth in regions generating yields above their worldwide average).

Among the global forwarders, Kuehne + Nagel performed best. It climbed to second place worldwide by strongly growing its air cargo volume. Expeditors did well, going up one step in the top-10 list. Of the top-30 forwarders, CT Freight and Damco showed the largest percentage increase; Hellmann, Agility and DSV showed lower percentages, but still well above the market.

A number of countries showed strength in outgoing and incoming air cargo combined. The following large air cargo countries deserve to be mentioned for their above average volume growth: China South-East, South Korea, Italy, Belgium, UAE, Germany, Malaysia and the Netherlands. Two of the larger countries, Spain and France, even managed a USD-yield increase for incoming and outgoing flows together.

Developments in some of the smaller air cargo countries caught our eye in the past year. Total air cargo business in countries such as Iraq, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Nigeria showed a volume growth ranging from 18 to 80%.

Every month, the WorldACD Index shows the 12-months average for the air cargo industry, thus providing trends corrected for seasonal influences. It clearly shows that worldwide volumes have been flat since January 2011, that revenues peaked in the second half of 2012, and that since that time worldwide yields have come down steadily. To regain a measure of health, the air cargo industry must halt this slide in the new year. Clearly, the industry hopes that the upward trend of 2013’s last quarter will turn out to be the stepping stone for 2014.