|World air cargo enjoys bumper year though Africa still lags|
|AIR cargo freight rates slipped in December, but 2017 was a bumper year for international carriers overall, reported London’s Loadstar.|
If anything, this year operators seem to be getting ready to cope with air capacity shortages as forwarders appear anxious to book space to ensure they have it throughout the year.
From Asia, carriers enjoyed top rates with transpacific westbound. Changi Airport reported air freight volumes up 7.9 per cent year on year, hitting 2.13 million tonnes in 2017.
In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific announced its tonnage in 2017 grew 10.9 per cent, while capacity was up 3.6 per cent, measured in available tonne kilometres, and revenue tonne kilometres rose nine per cent.
Cathay said that, together with Cathay Dragon, December cargo and mail rose 10.2 per cent, while load factors rose 2.4 per centage points to 71.9 per cent.
“Cargo’s strong momentum continued well into December, with volumes growing well ahead of capacity,” said Cathay cargo chief Ronald Lam. “We were able to sustain a high load factor and high yield during the month.
“As a result, revenue efficiency gains were observed in all route groups. Not only did our home market of Hong Kong perform well, strong cargo feed from across the network enabled us to achieve an all-time weekly tonnage uplift record in the week ending 9th of December.
“In terms of the nature of commodities carried, perishables were much in demand in the lead up to the festive season,” Mr Lam said.
In Europe, hard pressed Schiphol, was only up 5.4 per cent in 2017, although it saw 7.4 per cent growth between January and October. Again Asia, was its largest market, with imports up 3.1 per cent and exports up 8.8 per cent.
Overall, worldwide exports grew a more stellar 19.1 per cent, while imports rose 18.2 per cent.
“The upswing in e-commerce shipments, both inbound and outbound, was a large contributor to the cargo volumes for this market,” said Jonas van Stekelenburg, head of cargo for the Dutch airport.
Russia’s ABC itself saw its 2017 tonnage rise 13 per cent to more than 700,000 tonnes. Its FTK rose 10 per cent, while load factors grew four per cent, year on year to 71 per cent.
Temp controlled pharma volumes were up 150 per cent, while out-of-gauge and heavy cargo grew 33 per cent, and it carried 26 per cent more e-commerce.
Exports to Africa were down 5.4 per cent, while imports fell 6.6 per cent.
Schiphol also noted that imports from North America were down 5.6 per cent, citing “changes in regional strategy by some airline partners”.