The latest preliminary figures from WorldACD Market Data indicate that, consistent with a continued softening of market conditions, global air cargo tonnages has shown no signs yet of a post-holiday-season recovery, whereas last year there was already an upswing by the end of the first week of the year.
Figures for week one (January 2-8th) show worldwide tonnages to be stable compared with the previous week, while last year in the same period an increase of +4% was observed. The underlying trend, therefore, seems to be a global weakening of demand. However, average rates held firm in the first week of 2023, showing an increase of +1% compared with the previous week, whereas last year a substantial decrease of -5% was recorded.
Comparing weeks 52 and one with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), tonnages decreased -27% below their combined total in weeks 50 and 51, with a -5% decrease in capacity, while average worldwide rates declined -3% – based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.
In this two-week period, tonnages were significantly down between all regions, as is common this time of year. Notable decreases were recorded between Europe and Central and South America (-34% eastbound, -44% westbound), between Europe and North America (-34% eastbound, -42% westbound), between Europe and Africa (southbound -38%, northbound -27%) and between Europe and Asia Pacific (-34% eastbound, -15% westbound).
Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 52 and one was down -21% compared with the equivalent period last year, at -1% lower capacity. Notably, tonnages ex-North America are down by -29%, and ex-Asia Pacific tonnages are -26% below their strong levels this time last year. There were also double-digit percent year-on-year drops on tonnages outbound from Europe (-18%) and Middle East and South Asia (-12%). Overall capacity has fallen slightly (-1%) compared to the previous year and is down from Asia Pacific (-11%), Central and South America (-5%) and Europe (-2%), whereas from Africa (+12%), North America (+4%) and Middle East and South Asia (+4%) capacity remains above its levels this time last year.
Worldwide rates are currently -28% below their unusually elevated levels compared to this time last year at an average of US$3.08 per kilo in week one, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, but they remain significantly above pre-COVID levels.