Air Freight Bounced Back in 2014

After being hit by two contracting years the cargo industry can breathe a sigh of relief. All in all, revenues increased remarkably in 2014 in a year-over-year comparison. But the picture remains uneven depending on regions, according to latest business statistics delivered by WorldACD Market Data.

In 2014, global cargo volumes grew by 6.4 percent in average over 2013. Worldwide revenues went up 5 percent along with yields – and that’s the bitter pill to swallow particularly by the carriers – contracting -1.45 percent measured in U.S. dollars.
By taking a closer look at the different regions North America distinguished itself as the fastest growing market with a remarkable revenue increase of 10.9 percent. However, monthly revenues decreased year-on-year in nine out of twelve months. Above average performed also the origin Asia Pacific, reporting a U.S. dollar revenue increase of +6.2 percent, whilst Middle East & South Asia sales volumes decreased -0.4 percent.

Temperature controlled products outpace the “rest”
By looking at the performance of selected products it becomes apparent that pharmaceuticals and perishables continued the trend to outpace the market, with revenue increase of +16.2 percent and +7.2 percent respectively. Pharma shipments grew in yields as well (+2 percent), in Europe even more. In contrast, perishable yields dropped by about 3 percent, almost double the average of all cargo taken together. The leading origins in both product markets strengthened their position: Africa and Latin America in perishables, Europe and MESA in pharmaceuticals, report WorldACD Market Data analysts in their overview.
Looking at the various country pairs (Origins & Destinations) the group of top-20 country pairs did best, with a combined growth of 7.5%. In this group, 3 O&Ds showed negative volume growth (Hong Kong to Japan dropped by 6.2%), whilst 9 showed double digit growth, Hong Kong to West coast USA  being the top dog with 21.9% growth. The origins South East Europe and North Africa showed a double digit revenue growth of just over 10%.

European cargo carriers keep losing market shares
There were no major surprises when it comes to the performance of airlines, grouped by origin. Although the European area grew 5.1% in revenue, the one group of airlines not profiting was from Europe itself. Most of the revenue growth ex Europe was realized by Middle Eastern (+15%) and North American carriers (+11%). In all other origin areas, European airlines’ performance was rather flat as well. The Middle Eastern airlines, on the other hand, performed best, for the third year in a row, this time with a year-over-year growth of 13%. They were the fastest growing airlines in all areas, whilst they were also the only group with a slightly increased yield worldwide. In other words: this specific group of airlines continued their march towards prominence.
Asia Pacific airlines were mixed: large percentage decreases in the smaller markets of Africa and MESA (-19% and -18% respectively) were offset by more than average growth in North America and Europe, and a slightly increasing share of the revenue in their home region. North American airlines joined the European airlines in performing below average in most markets, except Europe (+11%). On their home turf, they registered negative growth of -1%.

Leading logistics giants gain additional market shares
According to WorldACD Market Data the top global forwarders showed much the same pattern as in 2013. In the Top-10, five outperformed the market: Kuehne+Nagel, Expeditors, UPS Global Forwarding, Nippon Express and Kintetsu, the latter showing a growth of well over 10%. The top-20 slightly underperformed the smaller forwarders. As a group, they continued to lose ground in Africa and Latin America, but slightly strengthened their position in the larger markets Asia Pacific and North America.

Heiner Siegmund

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