Even as North America is getting up to speed economically, a cyclical slowdown in emerging markets is squelching the prospects for significant advances in the global airfreight market, according to the Airports Council International half-year report. The council also predicted limited global growth for the remainder of 2015. Air-freight volume worldwide grew in June at 2.1 percent, year-over-year, with domestic traffic increasing 4.8 percent, yet international freight volume only increased 0.9 percent.
Airfreight grew by 3.4 percent for the first six months of 2015, y-o-y, but has been subdued as global demand for foreign goods and commodities weakened. By region, the African freight market grew by 7.4 percent in the first half of 2015, y-o-y. Johannesburg bounced back after a weak 2014 with 11.7 percent growth, compared to the January-to-June figure in 2014.
Asia-Pacific saw overall volume growth slow to 3 percent on a year-to-date basis. International freight volumes only grew by 2.7 percent for the first six months of 2015, y-o-y, while domestic freight grew by 3.8 percent. Hong Kong had an increase of only 0.6 percent in traffic for the first half of the year, with Shanghai reporting a y-o-y increase in traffic of 5 percent and Seoul Incheon a 1.5 percent increase.
Although business confidence is on the upswing in Europe, the debt crisis in Greece still casts a shadow of uncertainty over the region. Airfreight volumes saw only a 0.5 percent increase in the first half of 2015, y-o-y. Europe’s three major airfreight hubs – Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam – all experienced declines of 2.3 percent, 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, in the first six months of the year.
Turning to Latin America and the Caribbean, economic uncertainties in Brazil and Argentina weakened the region. ACI reported a modest 1 percent increase in traffic, y-o-y, for the first half of the year. São Paulo and Viracopos, which handle a large share of the region’s freight volume both declined; 1.2 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively. However, Bogotá experienced a gain of 6 percent in air freight traffic over the first half, y-o-y. Mexico City actually saw a 15. 6 percent rise in freight volumes, mostly due to international freight.
The Middle East saw the most gains, with 8.6 percent growth, y-o-y, from January to June 2015. Dubai International (DXB) grew by 2.8 percent, y-o-y, but Doha and Dubai World Central (DWC) grew by 11.4 and 57.6 percent, respectively. DWC has the capacity to handle an astonishing 12 million tonnes of airfreight and is well on its way to be the region’s premiere air cargo hub.
Lastly, North America posted growth at 4.8 percent, y-o-y. Memphis, the home of FedEx, only increased 0.6 percent, but other hubs picked up the slack. Chicago O’Hare, with its new Northeast Cargo Center, had the largest volume gain: 20.5 percent in the first half of 2015, y-o-y.