The trials in air cargo’s 2019 saga continued into August as WorldACD released its report indicating a decrease of almost 5% in international airfreight volumes year-over-year for the month of August.
WorldACD said that despite any semblance of hope that air cargo performance was less bad in July than in months before, August “brought the industry back to earth” with a y-o-y total chargeable weight loss of 7.1% worldwide.
Airlines suffered a y-o-y decrease of more than 15% in cargo revenue, combined with a decrease in y-o-y yield of 9.4% in USD. All regions worldwide contributed roughly the same amount to the global decline in revenue, with the exceptions of Africa, which saw a 1.6% y-o-y increase and – at the other end of the spectrum – the Middle East and South Asia, which experienced a 10.4% decline.
Only high tech, pharmaceuticals, flowers, and fish and seafood saw y-o-y growth for the month of 4.4%, 5.2%, 1.3% and 5.4%, respectively. However, WorldACD also said that flowers were the only category with a slight yield increase of 1% for the month.
Asia–Pacific was the “main regional victim,” particularly in the markets within the area and on the USA to China & Hong Kong trade lane. WorldACD did, however, point to reports that China’s neighbors are said to be profiting from the trade war between China and the U.S., though “it is not easy to corroborate or refute such statements.”
Exploring these claims, WorldACD compared the most recent three-months’ period from June to August with the same period in 2018. In this comparison, looking at air cargo exports to the U.S., China lost 18% of its revenues in USD y-o-y, while the other origins in Asia-Pacific combined lost 16%. In the Asia-Pacific, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea each lost around 25%, but Vietnam and Taiwan gained 4% and 15%, respectively. For U.S. exports into Asia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan all saw significant declines, while Vietnam alone saw an increase of 9.5%. Ultimately, “for whatever reasons,” it is clear that Vietnam is improving its position in air cargo flows to and from the U.S., and Taiwan is also seeing improvements in its regional market position to a lesser extent.