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  April 14th, 2016 | Written by

February Was a Down Month for Global Air Cargo

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  • Worldwide air cargo volumes dropped by 3.8 percent in January and February, the largest drop in three years.
  • Asia Pacific and North America origins “were the main culprits” for worldwide air cargo volumes decrease.
  • Weak air cargo figures must be viewed against last year’s windfall due to the port strike in the U.S.

Air cargo’s difficult start to 2016 has extended from January into February, according to data released by WorldACD, an air cargo market database.

Worldwide volumes dropped by 3.8 percent year-over-year, the largest such volume drop in three years.

Asia Pacific and North America origin points “were the main culprits,” according to WorldACD. For January and February together, volume decreases now stand at more than seven percent.

Africa, Europe and Middle East, and South Asia each show around five-percent growth for the same period.

“The weak year-over-year figures for Asia Pacific and North America ought to be viewed against the backdrop of last year’s windfall due to the port strike in the United States,” said rthe WorldACD report. “Also, the negative impact of Chinese New Year on the February totals was bigger this year as it took place much earlier in the month than last year.”

The good news, according to WorldACD, is that worldwide yields remained stable between January and February. Still, there were major differences among the various origin markets. Africa and Europe led in this category, with a 7.6-percent jump in African yields and 2.2 percent in European yields (in EUR).

Some smaller countries that enjoyed an outstanding start to the year: revenues increased by 38 percent from Morocco, 23 percent from Chile, 13 percent from Sri Lanka and 10 percent from Bangladesh.

Perishables performed much better than general cargo in both volumes and yields.

“Does this trend weigh in on the much-discussed modal shift from air to sea?” the report commented. “Although certain perishables look immune to that shift so far, whether or not a modal shift may take place differs from country to country and from one commodity to another.”

Negative patterns around the Chinese New Year provided further confirmation of the air cargo slide in Asia Pacific, according to World ACD. The usual strong dip after Chinese New Year was deeper this year than last year, and lasted longer. From China and Hong Kong, the 2015 post- Chinese New Year dip showed only one day with less than 10 percent of the pre- Chinese New Year volumes. This year there were four such days.