Global air cargo tonnages continued to build in the final full week of January, ahead of Lunar New Year (LNY) on 10 February, taking volumes for the last two weeks and for January as a whole well above their levels this time last year, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data.
Preliminary figures for January as a whole show a +14% increase compared with January 2023, based on the more than 440,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data, although the figures are skewed by LNY falling on 22 January last year, with the week following LNY typically seeing a significant drop in tonnages ex-Asia Pacific. Nevertheless, there has been an underlying trend of higher year-on-year tonnages for several months, boosted by strong e-commerce traffic demand ex-Asia Pacific since the final quarter (Q4) of last year and with some limited conversion of sea freight to air and sea-air cargo in recent weeks due to the disruptions to container shipping in the Red Sea.
Initial figures for week 4 (22 to 28 January) indicate that global air cargo tonnages rose by a further +5% compared with the previous week, following a +25% week-on-week (WoW) rise in week 2 and a further +4% increase in week 3, taking tonnages back up close to their levels in the final weeks of Q4. Average global prices have remained relatively stable throughout January, at an average of US$2.33 a kilo, compared with around US2.60 in early to mid-December.
Expanding the comparison period to two weeks, total combined tonnages for weeks 3 and 4 this year were up by +18%, globally, compared with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), with average rates stable and capacity up +3%.
Outbound tonnages were up significantly from most of the main global regions, on a 2Wo2W basis, including double-digit percentage increases from Central & South America (+40%), Europe (+28%), Asia Pacific (+16%), North America (+13%), and ex-Africa (+10%). Only ex-Middle East & South Asia (+2%) traffic failed to record a significant increase, with growth of +8% ex-Middle East & South Asia to Europe partially cancelled out by a decline (-8%) to Asia Pacific.
Most of the main intercontinental lanes recorded double-digit percentage increases in tonnages, on a 2Wo2W basis, including a +55% surge from Central & South America to North America. This surge reflects a spike in demand for flowers in North America for Valentine’s Day on 14 February. South America to North America is the world’s largest flower market and one that generates some big peaks in air cargo traffic, especially in late January for Valentine’s Day and in April, for Mother’s Day. In contrast, the flower market to Europe is more stable, peaking usually in early February ahead of Valentine’s Day.
Year-on-year (YoY) comparisons also reveal some big changes. Overall global demand in weeks 3 and 4, combined, is up +19%, compared with the equivalent period last year, with tonnages ex-Asia Pacific up by +42% and tonnages ex-Middle East & South Asia by +23%, followed by more-modest increases ex-Central & South America (+12%), Africa (+10%), and Europe (+7%), while ex-North America demand is still in negative territory, YoY. That huge YoY difference ex-Asia Pacific underlines that this is primarily a LNY effect, although there is likely some contribution from sea freight converted to air and sea-air cargo due to the Red Sea disruptions.
Overall worldwide air cargo capacity remains significantly up on last year’s levels (+16%), including a +41% rise ex-Asia Pacific that closely matches the demand situation from that market.
On the pricing side, average worldwide rates of US$2.33 per kilo in week 4 are -20% below their elevated levels this time last year, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+31% compared to January 2019).
Looking ahead, various freight and logistics commentators believe the boost to air cargo in recent weeks from sea freight conversions due to the Red Sea disruptions will drop away after Lunar New Year. However, one major forwarder notes that the knock-on effects and momentum in air cargo will continue even after LNY, with one of the main drivers being ocean container equipment shortages at origin ports due to the longer ocean shipping rotations around the Cape of Good Hope. With an increase in pressure on air cargo capacity, it expects a corresponding increase in air cargo rates in the coming weeks on some specific trade lanes, as it has already experienced in recent weeks.
In June, a UK Royal Navy destroyer and Dutch Royal Navy ship safely moored in Odessa, Ukraine, were spoofed to locations off-shore of a Russian naval base on Crimea. One week later, it was a US Navy ship moored in the same port that was spoofed (above). These are interesting cases in several ways. First, how […]
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
As the shipping industry works to develop its path towards decarbonization, one large shipowner has decided to use the existing technology to start a conversion to methanol while longer-term solutions continue to be developed. Eastern Pacific Shipping, which has a fleet of containerships, dry bulk carriers, and tankers totally 15 million dwt, will work with […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]