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WorldACD Weekly Air Cargo Trends – week 10

Dubai-Europe tonnages continue surge, as global demand stabilizes

Air cargo tonnages from Dubai to Europe are continuing to boom, while overall global demand has broadly stabilized following a strong return of Asia Pacific volumes since the Lunar New Year (LNY) dip in early February, according to the latest weekly figures from WorldACD Market Data.

Analysis of week 10 (4-10 March) reveals that Dubai-Europe tonnages were at three times their level (+205%) this time last year, and around +7% up compared with the previous week. As WorldACD has highlighted in recent weeks, certain key Asia-Europe sea-air hubs such as Dubai, Colombo and Bangkok have experienced exceptionally high air cargo demand to Europe since the start of this year, in large part linked to the disruptions to Asia-Europe container shipping caused by the attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. Dubai-Europe tonnages have been particularly strong, at more than double their level in recent weeks compared with this time last year. And the continuing surge in week 10 indicates this trend is showing no signs of weakening four weeks on from LNY.

Meanwhile, Bangkok-Europe demand also remains up by more than +30%, year on year (YoY), in week 10 (+33%), similar to the +32% in week 9. Air cargo sources in Thailand indicated this week that this traffic is being boosted by road-air volumes trucked down from Vietnam and other origin points in the region where ocean freight traffic has also been impacted by the disruptions to Asia-Europe container shipping.

But the surge in Colombo-Europe demand appears to softening. Although Colombo-Europe tonnages were still up +20%, year on year (YoY), in week 10, that compares with +35% in week 9 and around +80% in the previous three weeks.

Global picture

Looking at the wider global picture, total worldwide tonnages in week 10 were broadly flat compared with the previous week, after recovering by +3% in week 9 and by +14% the previous week, following a -11% drop around the LNY holiday week. Average global rates also rose again slightly (+2%) compared with the previous week to $2.32 per kilo, roughly their level in the weeks leading up to LNY, based on the more than 450,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Expanding the comparison period to two weeks, tonnages in weeks 9 and 10 are up by +9% compared with the previous two weeks (2Wo2W), driven mainly by a post-LNY rebound in demand from Asia Pacific, where tonnages were up by +28% from Asia Pacific origin points. That included a +38% rise from Asia Pacific to Middle East & South Asia (MESA), along with big rises to Europe (+29%), North America (+26%), and to other Asia Pacific destinations (+23%).

As in the previous several weeks, tonnages from MESA origins are also strongly elevated compared with last year (+17%), although on a 2Wo2W basis they have slipped slightly (-4%), suggesting a possible weakening from the extreme highs of previous weeks.

Globally, average rates of US$2.32 per kilo in week 10 are -14% below their levels this time last year, but they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+29% compared to March 2019). Origin region MESA continues to show the strongest 2Wo2W average rates development (+6%) and to be the only origin region showing a positive year-on-year change (+17%).

And overall worldwide air cargo capacity remains significantly up on last year’s levels (+9%), with double-digit percentage increases ex-Asia Pacific (+18%) and ex-Central & South America (+14%), year on year.

For more details, please refer to the attached WorldACD weekly report.

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