2JanJJa April 2015: trends continue, some changes under the surface

Worldwide April-figures reinforced the trends seen earlier in the year. Worldwide volume increased by 3.3% year-over-year (YoY), slightly lower than the growth in Q1, with the origin Europe (4.1%) and the destination North America (12.6%) as the best performing areas. Yields continued to drop: measured in USD, they have now lost almost 11% of their early 2014-values. If we exclude surcharges, however, yields in USD increased by 1.4% YoY during the first four months of 2015.

In line with regular seasonal patterns, worldwide volumes in April were almost 6% lower than in March. The notable exception was the origin Asia Pacific, where volumes remained the same month-over-month (MoM). This can be partly explained by the fact that volumes and yields across the Pacific did not yet return to normalcy, as YoY-figures continued to be far better than the worldwide averages. Yields measured in USD fell by 4% worldwide compared to March, but held their own in the origin North America.

The first four months of the year saw a YoY volume growth of almost 4% worldwide. European carriers as a group lost ground in all origin areas except Asia Pacific, where they grew modestly. The representatives from North America did better than average everywhere but in their home market, whilst Asia Pacific carriers (+7%) and their Middle Eastern counterparts (+9%) continued to outpace their competitors from other parts of the world. The origin Latin America was the only one contracting in volume (-3%). North American carriers showed impressive growth in pharma (+26%), whilst carriers from Africa and the Middle East recorded remarkable growth in perishables (+13%).

Looking at distribution, we find a rather stable picture as well. Of the world’s top-20 forwarders in the first four months of 2014, 19 still claimed that position in 2015. As a group, they lost some ground as they saw their combined share of worldwide revenues diminish from 45.1% tot 44.4% YoY: the elite group’s yield suffered slightly more (-12%) than the worldwide yield of the smaller forwarders (-10%). Only 6 of the Top-20 forwarders realized a revenue increase. Not surprisingly, three of these are based in Japan, the best performing of the larger countries in terms of YoY-revenue increase.

Lastly, one other development in the first four months merits attention. General Sales Agents as a group further strengthened their position in air cargo: more than 20% of worldwide revenues were generated through sales under GSA-agreements. GSA’s  showed a higher than average volume growth coupled with less yield loss. In volume growth, GSA-generated sales outperformed other sales in all areas except Africa and Latin America, with the best relative performance seen in Asia Pacific, followed by North America and Middle East & South Asia. The top-GSA’s in Europe and North America improved by a higher percentage than their competitors.