Decent Figures At Last for Air Cargo - Global Trade Magazine
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  November 9th, 2016 | Written by

Decent Figures At Last for Air Cargo

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  • Experts say October's air cargo numbers will be even better than September's.
  • Air cargo yields increased 1.4 percent in September.
  • European origin freight contributed most to air-cargo improvements in September.

The air cargo industry saw volume growth of more than five percent year-over-year (YoY) in September, according to numbers released by WorldACD. That’s something the business hasn’t seen for two years.

With that kind of increase in total weight transported and further worldwide yield impovement over previous months, some industry sources are claiming that October’s numbers, once they come out, will be even better.

Month-over-month (MoM), worldwide yield increased 1.4 percent in September.

European origin freight contributed most to the improvement in September, with a YoY volume increases of eight percent. Asia Pacific followed Europe with a six-percent increase. Volumes in Latin America remained flat in September.

The United States and China stood out as the most important growth markets at the country level. Hong Kong’s numbers show that it started its climb towards its usual November peak earlier than in previous years.

One note of caution offered by WorldACD: September 2016 had one more Friday than September 2015. Friday is considered a strong air cargo day and could have contributed as much as one full percentage point to September’s 5.2-percent gain.

On a quarterly basis, the third quarter of 2016 has been better than the second: YoY volumes were up 3.2 percent (versus 2.3 percent last year), while yields—after slipping in the second quarter—rose slightly. Carriers based in Europe showed the highest growth—4.6 percent—followed by those from Asia Pacific (3.2 percent) and the Middle East (2.9 percent).

In the third quarter, worldwide kilograms YoY, as noted increased by 3.2 percent while direct ton kilometers (DTK) grew by 4.3 percent. DTKs measure the weight carried multiplied by the shortest distance between origin and destination of a shipment.

The DTK figures show that growth was larger in long-haul traffic than in short haul. Long-haul markets from Europe to Asia Pacific and from Asia Pacific to North America were particularly fast growing: nine percent and 10 percent respectively. Business originating in or destined for carriers’ hubs did not grow at all in the third quarter, leading WorldACD to conclude that indirect transportation—i.e., business transited through carriers’ hubs—was responsible for the entire year-over-year growth in the third quarter.

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