Airfreight: on the rise?
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents some 240 airlines, comprising 84 percent of global air traffic, has released data for global air-freight markets showing 2,3 percent growth in demand (measured in freight tonne kilometres) over June 2013.
Although this is slower than the 4,9 percent growth reported in May, overall growth for the first six months of 2014 stands at 4,1 percent compared to the same period last year.
That’s much stronger than the 1,4 percent increase reported by IATA for the full 2013 year over 2012 levels. “The strengthened growth has been underpinned by improving global trade and stronger business activity over the past year,” the Association notes.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, adds: “At the half-way point of the year, it is clear that overall cargo demand is much stronger than in 2013. Carriers in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East have been the biggest beneficiaries of the improved market conditions. Europe is doing reasonably well, albeit still in recovery mode. The weak spot is the Americas.”
IATA reports that African carriers grew 4,8 percent in June. This was much stronger than the year-to-date average of 3,1 percent. “Growth has been affected by a slowdown in some African economies, notably that of South Africa,” it relates. “Improving trade data, however, points to a more optimistic outlook for the rest of the year. Capacity grew 0,3 percent in June, year-on-year.”
Tyler continues: “The general improvement in the economic environment is always good news for air cargo. This may not, however, be a recovery as usual.” He adds that there are a lot of risks out there – from conflicts and sanctions to potential national defaults and fear of the Ebola outbreak.
“Second, while air cargo is slowly emerging from two years in the doldrums, time has not stood still,” Tyler points out. “Logistics has become an even more intensely competitive sector. Shippers value faster end-to-end transit times, greater reliability and improved efficiency.”
He says that it its more clear than ever that the building blocks for the future of air cargo are found in global programmes such as e-Freight and Cargo 2000. “These are helping the entire value chain to deliver on the expectations of their customers.”