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WorldACD Weekly Air Cargo Trends – week 48

Rates ex-Asia Pacific continue strong rise

Global air cargo tonnages have rebounded more quickly than last year following the annual Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, regaining the 2% lost last week, while prices ex-Asia Pacific continue to rise strongly, particularly on the big head-haul lanes to North America and Europe, according to the latest weekly figures from WorldACD Market Data.

Weekly analysis

Preliminary figures for week 48 (27 November to 3 December) show a +2% increase in tonnages and a +1% increase in global average rates, compared with the previous week, based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data. Tonnages have followed a similar pattern as they did this time last year, although this year demand has already recovered from the seasonal post-Thanksgiving dip, while in the equivalent week last year, global tonnages fell further following a steeper decline the previous week.

Comparing weeks 47 and 48 this year with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages fell -1%, while overall global average rates continued to rise with a +5% increase, at a slight capacity decrease (-1%). The minor decrease in tonnages, on a 2Wo2W basis, was mainly due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA (23 November), which caused tonnages ex-North America to slow down by -8% (2Wo2W), compared with -14% this time last year.

Looking at the regional developments, on a 2Wo2W basis, the impact of Thanksgiving is clearly visible ex-North America to Asia Pacific (-10%) and to Europe (-9%), with inbound tonnages ex-Europe and ex-Central & South America to North America both also down -5%. Other significant demand changes include a -7% drop ex-Central & South America to Europe, whereas volumes ex-Africa to Europe grew by +5%. And there was also strong growth between Middle East & South Asia and Asia Pacific (+7% eastbound, +5% westbound).

On the pricing side, the strong increases noted last week ex-Asia Pacific have continued (+7%), on a 2Wo2W basis, with a further big jump to North America and Europe (both +8%), as tonnages ex-China continue their strong rebound since the second quarter of this year and especially since September, which has led to double-digit month-on-month percentage rises in prices in recent weeks to North America and Europe.

Year-on-Year perspective

On a global basis, volumes in weeks 47 and 48 remain above their levels this time last year, now standing +3% higher, YoY, driven mostly by a +14% increase ex-Asia Pacific, with more-modest rises ex-Africa (+5%), ex-Middle East & South Asia (+2%) and ex-Central & South America (+2%). There remain significant decreases in tonnages ex-North America (-8%) and ex-Europe (-5%), although these are far less severe than the deficits reported in previous weeks, most notably ex-North America.

Meanwhile, overall available capacity has increased by +15% compared with last year, with capacity ex-Asia Pacific up by a noteworthy +40%. Other regions also show significant YoY capacity increases: ex-Africa (+11%), ex-Central & South America (+10%), ex-Middle East & South Asia (+10%), ex-North America (+10%) and ex-Europe (+9%).

Worldwide average rates are currently -19% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.60 per kilo in week 48, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+43% compared to November 2019).

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

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