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Airfreight volumes will grow 17 percent by 2017

By control on December 11, 2013

International airfreight volumes will grow 17 percent over the next five years, according to the International Air Transport Association Airline Industry Forecast 2013-2017.

This consensus outlook incorporates a conservative estimate of the recovery in global economic activity and world trade volumes over the coming years.

“Air cargo is a key enabler for the movement of high-value products and perishable goods around the globe,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said. “More than US$6 trillion worth of goods is airfreighted annually, accounting for around 35 percent of total world trade. But more recently, the relationship between international trade and GDP has broken down, owing to rising trade barriers and on-shoring of production. The successful conclusion of the World Trade Organization talks in Bali potentially could be very important in kick-starting trade growth. To be ready to take best advantage of possible opportunities, air cargo needs to work together as an industry to improve its competitiveness and enhance the quality of its service to customers.”

By 2017, the five largest international freight markets will be the U.S., China, Germany, Hong Kong and the UAE.

International freight volumes are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2 percent. The largest and the third-largest air cargo markets in 2012, the U.S. and China respectively, are likely to add more than 1 million additional tonnes each over the forecast period. As a result, China will replace Germany as the second largest airfreight market in 2017.

Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates will both contribute more than 700,000 tonnes each to the additional freight volume during the five-year period.

Africa is forecasted to be the fastest growing region over the next five years with a growth rate of 4 percent CAGR. The fastest growing freight route for Africa is the inter-Africa market.

Not far behind Africa are the Middle East and Latin America, both with a CAGR of 3.8 percent, and the Asia-Pacific at 3.5 percent per annum, followed by Europe and North America at 2.4 percent CAGR and 2.7 percent CAGR, respectively.

Vietnam is expected to be the fastest growing country for airfreight volumes over the forecasting horizon with a CAGR of 6.6 percent per annum, followed by Bangladesh (5.7 percent CAGR), Brazil (5.5 percent CAGR), Ethiopia (5.3 percent CAGR) and Peru (5.2 percent CAGR).

Freight carriage within the Asia-Pacific region will account for around 31 percent of the expected total increase in freight tonnage over the next five years.

The largest freight traffic shares in 2012 were within Asia Pacific, Europe-Asia Pacific, North and Mid-Pacific and North Atlantic. Looking ahead to 2017, within Asia Pacific is expected to increase its share by around one percentage point to 26.2 percent, with smaller gains (of around 0.3 percentage points) in both North America-Latin America (to 6.6 percent) and Middle East-Asia Pacific (to 6.5 percent).