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WorldACD Weekly Air Cargo Trends – week 40

Golden Week pushes down early October tonnages

Global air cargo tonnages dropped significantly in the first full week of October compared with the previous week, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data, with the decrease mainly caused by the seasonal effect of China’s National Day Golden Week holiday from 29 September to 6 October.

Weekly analysis

Figures for week 40 (2 to 8 October) show a -5% drop in tonnages, compared with the previous week, while rates decreased by -3%, based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data. But the week-on-week (WoW) drop in tonnages was less pronounced than during the equivalent week last year, when a change of -9% was recorded. That -9% WoW decline last year was skewed by a -47% drop in outbound tonnages from China, compared with a more-modest -21% WoW decline this year during the holiday shutdown. But the situation this time last year in China was complicated due to various regions of the country going in and out of zero-Covid lockdowns.

Comparing weeks 39 and 40 this year with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages decreased by -2% versus their combined total in weeks 37 and 38, while worldwide rates went up by +2% and capacity slightly decreased (-1%).

At a regional level, decreases in tonnages (2Wo2W) were recorded most strongly on flows inbound to Asia Pacific from, respectively, Middle East & South Asia (-9%), Europe (-8%) and North America (-6%), and intra-Asia Pacific (-8%), due to the impact of the Golden Week in China. Although overall inbound tonnages to China rebounded in week 40 by +10%, that followed a -23% drop, WoW, in week 39.

Elsewhere, tonnages ex-Middle East & South Asia to Europe were down (-6%), on a 2Wo2W basis, while notable increases were recorded ex-Africa to Europe (+8%), between North America and Central & South America (+5% in both directions), and ex-Europe to Middle East & South Asia (+4%).

On the pricing side, average global rates increased by +2% on a 2Wo2W basis, with the most-notable rises ex-Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific (+16%), and ex-Asia Pacific to, respectively, Middle East & South Asia (+7%), Europe (+5%) and North America (+5%). Notable drops were observed on the lanes ex-Europe to Africa (-5%) and intra-Asia Pacific (-4%).

Year-on-Year perspective

With China’s National Day Golden Week taking place at the same time each year, its strong WoW effects are far less visible in year-on-year (YoY) comparison figures, which are fairly similar this week to those in previous recent reports. Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 39 and 40 was down -1% compared with the equivalent period last year, with the most-notable change on an origin region level being a +9% rise ex-Asia Pacific. But, similar to previous reports, there were significant decreases in tonnages ex-North America (-13%) and ex-Europe (-9%). Furthermore, tonnages were slightly down for origin Africa (-1%), while origins Central & South America (+3%) and Middle East & South Asia (+2%) were up.

Overall capacity has increased by +10% compared with last year, as passenger air services continue to return to the market, with capacity ex-Asia Pacific up by a noteworthy +25%. Other significant YoY capacity increases can be observed ex-Middle East & South Asia (+9%), ex-North America (+8%), ex-Europe (+7%) and ex-Africa (+6%), while a drop was recorded ex-Central & South America (-3%).

Worldwide average rates are currently -29% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.31 per kilo in week 40, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+31% compared to October 2019).

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

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