WorldACD: Airfreight’s ‘fairytale’ continues, with surging May volumes, yields

The folks running the numbers for freight carriers these days must be looking over their shoulders for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and yell, “You’re Punk’d!”

WorldACD, for instance, certainly misread the indicators, writing last month that “the size of the March-April drop in 2017 may act as a caveat against the view that good times are here to stay.” But even then, anecdotal reports suggested that this year’s May would be different than its predecessors. Turns out, they were correct.

Now, the Netherlands-based research firm has amended its outlook to “the fairytale continues,” as May charts a formidable year-over-year (y-o-y) increase in chargeable weight of 12.8 percent, coupled with a y-o-y yield rise of 5 percent, measured in U.S. dollars; 7 percent in euros.

With macro-economic indicators pointing to strong growth in global trade, the researchers at WorldACD admitted that “we might have to eat our words once more.”

For the first five months of 2017, worldwide chargeable weight increased 10 percent, y-o-y, and revenues 11 percent in U.S. dollars; 15 percent in euros.

The Asia-Pacific region led the market, resulting in a year-to-date growth of 14 percent. China and Hong Kong airfreight continued to grow, especially into the U.S., where average air cargo prices from Hong Kong to the U.S. reached US$3.27 per kilogram in June, according to the Tac Index, an increase of 38.6 percent, y-o-y.

That China-Hong Kong-U.S. surge in traffic is looking increasingly like it has been fueled by e-commerce, however WordACD noted that its researchers did not see this trend reflected in large increases in express air cargo: “We note the largest growth in regular shipments weighing more than 1,000 kilograms, a clear sign (i) that most e-commerce finds the regular speed of air cargo good enough, and (ii) that e-commerce is definitely not a matter of individual, small parcels flying across the globe!”

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