Has the industry just had its first “uh-oh” moment of the year? The sensational airfreight volume growth-spurt has come to a tangible end, with the first recorded year-over-year decrease of 0.9 percent in international airfreight volumes reported by the WorldACD in over two years, occurring during the month of September. Meanwhile, Drewry said airfreight prices are continuing to rise.
However, a number of simultaneous factors occurred that resulted in the volume contraction, making the equation more complicated than a simple decrease in demand for capacity. Airfreight market data firm WorldACD cited 32 percent higher fuel prices than last year, typhoons in Asia, and the fact that September had one more Sunday and one less Friday than September 2017.
Drewry’s East-West airfreight price index was also released today that show rates increased 9 percent, or 24 cents, from the previous month in September, to reach $2.81 per kilogram – a symptom of the rise in fuel costs corroborated by WorldACD. Drewry said it expects rates to continue to increase in October.
While the macro-economic environment saw a contraction, there were still regional areas of growth. Central and South America continued to show healthy growth with a 11 percent volume increase during the month, while Europe was also the fastest growing destination, up 5.4 percent in volume, y-o-y. All “special product” categories outperformed general cargo, with pharmaceuticals, express and live animals still recording double digit growth, the WorldACD said.