2017 air cargo trend
The air cargo industry has gone from dejection to elation in just a year, said analyst WorldACD in its latest report, covering September.
WorldACD points out that September 2016 saw volume growth of more than 5% year-over-year (YoY), a level not seen for two years in “the beleaguered air cargo world”.
Its prediction that October 2016 would be even better had proved correct and growth had continued since then.
September 2017 was the 13th consecutive month of YoY volume growth well above 5%, World ACD pointed out although, at 8.8%, “it was the first month in a long time in which growth remained below 10%”.
However, this was due to the very strong September 2016 performance, the fact that fewer of the traditionally strong cargo days fell in September 2017 than a year ago and the effect of the hurricanes, particularly in the US Atlantic South region and the Caribbean.
Nevertheless, with a very high yield increase of 12% YoY in US dollar (5.4% in euro terms), “September 2017 was another outstanding month for air cargo carriers: revenues improved YoY by 21.8% in dollars, and by 14.7% in euros, an excellent performance.”
However, a 13% fuel price increase YoY could somewhat dampen enthusiasm over revenue growth, World ACD conceded.
The only region maintaining YoY double digit volume growth in September was Asia Pacific: 12.3% for outgoing and 11.3% for incoming business. North America stayed well below the average growth (5.6% YoY, 1.2% YoY for the Atlantic South region), while Africa’s figures were negative, mainly due to a serious drop in volume from Egypt.
The strongest growing inter-regional markets all involved the Middle East & South Asia (MESA): Asia Pacific to MESA 14%, Europe to MESA 13.3%, North America to MESA 13.9% and MESA to North America 20.6%
In the first three quarters of the year, Asia Pacific (14.2%) and Europe (12.6%) remained the best performing areas in volume growth, consolidating their top. Asia Pacific was also the only area with double digit yield growth YoY for each month in the January-September period. Four destinations accounted for 30% of the growth in 2017: China East, US Midwest, Germany and Japan.
Turning to the freight forwarding industry, the world’s top 20 (11 based in Europe, five in Asia and four in North America) did better YoY than the others growing 11.2% versus 10.3% and raising their combined worldwide share to almost 43%.
Of the top 20, Asian and North-American forwarders outgrew the market (13% versus 12% respectively), whilst European-based forwarders kept pace with the overall market, at 10.8%.
North-American forwarders did very well in the Asia Pacific region, growing 19.3% as well as in the much smaller African market (+21.3%), but lost ground on their home turf (8.6% versus 13.9% for European-based forwarders, and 13.3% for the Asian-based firms).
In Europe, the 11 top 20 European forwarders fared much better than the non-European members of the group (13% growth versus 9.3%). In Asia Pacific, Asian members of the top 20 group and the smaller forwarders’ realised an impressive growth of over 15%.
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