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WorldACD Weekly Air Cargo Trends – week 44

Rates hold firm despite early November tonnage dip

Global average air cargo rates have remained firm and on a slight seasonal upwards trajectory going into the first few days of November, despite a week-on-week drop in tonnages, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data. And looking at the last two weeks combined, overall worldwide tonnages are more or less the same as the previous two weeks and their levels this time last year, although volumes are now significantly higher ex-Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East than in the equivalent period last year.

Weekly analysis

Preliminary figures for week 44 (30 October to 5 November) show a -3% decrease in tonnages and a slight increase in global average rates, compared with the previous week, based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data. As throughout October, tonnages have followed a broadly similar pattern as they did this time last year, although the week-over-week decrease in week 44 last year was significantly more pronounced (-7%).

Comparing weeks 43 and 44 this year with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages were flat, while rates increased by +2% and capacity was slightly lower (-2%) than the combined total in weeks 41 and 42.

But that flat overall global tonnage picture masks some significant regional variations, with a fall in volumes on the majority of lanes balanced out by strong increases on a small number of trades – most notably on the transpacific. Indeed, tonnages on the big Asia Pacific to North America lane recorded a +9% uplift, with strong increases also from Asia Pacific to Middle East & South Asia (+6%), and from Africa to Europe (+10%) – the latter consistent with the seasonal perishables trade. Conversely, there was a steep drop in tonnages (-8%) from Central & South America to Europe, while outbound tonnages from Middle East & South Asia took a major hit, including -7% to Europe and -19% to Asia Pacific. And transatlantic tonnages saw a small drop in both directions (-3% westbound, -2% eastbound).

On the pricing side, there were small to modest increases in rates, on a 2Wo2W basis, on a number of key flows, including Asia Pacific to, respectively, Europe (+3%), Middle East & South Asia (+3%), and North America (+2%). But these were balanced out by declines in a number of flows including -5% declines to Asia Pacific ex-Europe and ex-North America.

Year-on-Year perspective

After many months of reporting year-on-year tonnage declines, on a global and regional basis, overall global volumes are now on a par with their levels this time last year – even if those levels were relatively subdued – and tonnages from a number of origin regions are now significantly above their equivalent levels. Indeed, chargeable weight in weeks 43 and 44 was up +9% ex-Africa, up +8% ex-Asia Pacific and ex-Middle East & South Asia, and up +6% ex-Central & South America. But as in previous recent reports, there were significant decreases in tonnages ex-North America (-12%) and ex-Europe (-9%).

Nevertheless, as WorldACD highlighted in a presentation at this week’s TIACA Executive Summit in Brussels, the direction of travel points towards November and December this year recording slightly higher overall global tonnages than in the equivalent period last winter.

Meanwhile, overall available capacity has increased by +9% compared with last year, as passenger air services continue to return to the market, with capacity ex-Asia Pacific up by a noteworthy +29%. Other significant YoY capacity increases can be observed ex-Middle East & South Asia (+11%) and ex-Africa (+9%), while a slight decrease was recorded ex-Central & South America (-1%).

Worldwide average rates are currently -27% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.41 per kilo in week 44, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+32% compared to November 2019).

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

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