According to the most recent preliminary findings from WorldACD Market Data, global air cargo tonnages have decreased even more in the final days and weeks of what would normally be peak season, driven primarily by a sharp decline in volumes between Asia and Europe as the year comes to a disappointing finish for carriers and forwarders.
The data for week 50 (12–18 December) is consistent with how the demand for air cargo has been declining over the course of this year’s second half.
Globally flown tonnages are down by -3% overall from the prior week, and average prices are down a bit as well. With the exception of Africa, each origin region’s charged weight has decreased since the previous week.
With the exception of Europe outbound, all of the major origin regions’ average prices decreased substantially in week 50 after remaining consistent in recent weeks.
Similar to the trend seen at this time last year, although this year’s rate has been flat, the overall reduction from the prior week was only small. According to the more than 350,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s statistics, tonnages plummeted -2% below their total combined in weeks 47 and 48, while average worldwide rates reduced -1%, at a +1% rise in capacity. This comparison was made between weeks 49 and 50 and the previous two weeks.
On a 2Wo2W basis, outbound tonnages from Europe to all areas decreased noticeably during that two-week period, i.e., -15% to Africa, -14% to Central & South America, -8% to the Middle East & South Asia, -5% to North America, and -4% to Asia Pacific.
The Asia Pacific to Europe (-8%), North America to Asia Pacific (-4%), and Asia Pacific to the Middle East & South Asia (-4%) routes all saw large declines.
On the other hand, North America to Europe (+12%), Africa to Europe (+12%), and North America and Central and South America (southbound +6%, northbound +5%) also had significant increases.
Chargeable weight in weeks 49 and 50 was down 19% from the same period in 2021, while capacity was down 1% compared to the whole worldwide market at the same time last year.
Notably, tonnages ex-North America are down by -25% and tonnages ex-Asia Pacific are down by -25% from their high levels at this time last year.
Additionally, the tonnages leaving the Middle East and South Asia (-19%), Europe (-12%), and Africa (-10%) had double-digit percent year-over-year declines. While capacity from Africa (+16%), the Middle East and South Asia (+3%), and North America (+2%) has increased above its levels at this time last year, output from Asia Pacific (-9%) and Central and South America (-8%) has remained below those levels.
Despite the consequences of increasing fuel surcharges, global rates are currently 27% lower than their extraordinarily high levels this time last year at an aggregate of $3.24 per kilo, however, they remain substantially greater than pre-COVID levels.