Air freight sector slows; ME stays strongest
Geneva, May 27, 2014
Global air freight markets in April showed demand (measured in freight tonne kilometers or FTKs) was 3.2 per cent above previous year levels, International Air Transport Association (Iata) has said.
Demand has not, however, grown in recent months. Traffic levels in April were slightly below those of January and 1.1pc lower than what was recorded in March, it said.
Middle Eastern carriers reported that air cargo demand expanded 8.7 per cent compared to the previous April. This is slightly slower growth compared to previous months, but still easily the strongest growth of any region. Carriers are benefitting from the upswing in developed economies, and increased volumes from emerging markets in Asia and Africa. Capacity was up 8.1pc.
Latest data showed that prior improvements in the demand environment are experiencing some reversal. Largely as a result of further slowdown in the emerging markets, mostly China, indicators of business confidence slipped further in April. Levels still point toward growth, but at the weakest pace for the past five months, said an Iata statement.
World trade growth has also slowed over recent months. However, momentum in advanced economies remains intact, and export orders still point to expansion. This suggests that current sluggishness in the demand drivers is likely temporary, it said.
“Trading conditions for air freight are difficult. Overall, business activity and trade have shifted down a gear after a strong end to 2013. And this is taking its toll on growth in the air cargo sector. Developed economies are still maintaining post-recession momentum and the expectation is for a stronger finish to the year,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s director general and CEO.
The air cargo sector is committed to improving its attractiveness to shippers through efficiency. The goal is to reduce shipping times by 48 hours before 2020. A centerpiece of this effort is the e-freight initiative which seeks to modernise the air cargo sector with paperless business processes, he said.
“Air cargo’s sales proposition is speed, and cumbersome processes are holding us back. In March we reached a significant milestone. For the first time, the e-Air Waybill (e-AWB) was used for over 200,000 shipments. That’s good news but we still have a long way to go,” said Tyler. - TradeArabia News Service