The carrier transported 811,000 tons between 1 January and 30 June this year – a moderate 0.5 percent increase on the first half-year period in 2014. However, the load factor declined 2.5 percentage points, standing at 67.6 percent.
The figures are surely not brilliant but in view of the extremely challenging market environment, particularly with China’s exports plummeting rapidly in recent times it is an overall satisfying
result in the eyes of the carrier’s management.
On some traffic lanes sales went up considerably, namely on flights from Europe to North America and Africa which both report a tonnage increase of 4 percent. However, the return flights saw a drop in cargo, admits LH Cargo’s head of communication Michael Goentgens. “Both trade lanes remain quite unbalanced.” As to the USA he partially blames the currency differences to have influenced the market, with the strong dollar against the euro making U.S. products more expensive for European buyers.
China is causing headaches
The Chinese market, however, is seen by LH Cargo with a tearful and joyful eye. This, because exports from Europe to China are thriving, whilst on the way back “the situation is very demanding,” confirms Michael. A similar situation is faced by other cargo carriers on routes from East to West, a result of China’s weakening exports and the tumbling of its stock market together with its financial sector’s current difficulties.
In total, sales in APAC went down by 3.2 percent while tonnage shrank 1.3 percent. Therefore it can be assumed that filling the freighters with goods on westbound routes remains a challenging task also for the months to come.
Natal runs well
Interesting is LH Cargo’s increasingly quick reaction to market situations shown by flights to Vietnam that will be operated for only two months to capture on seasonal products.
Another recent decision – stops at Natal in Northeast Brazil en route from Sao Paulo to Frankfurt – seems to have paid off up to now. The once weekly operated services offered since July have started off well, says Herr Goentgens. Simultaneously he announces plans to engage in a direct cooperation with local farmers to further enhance the supply chain efficiency of locally produced perishables, predominantly papayas, from the fields to their final destinations.