The figures recently published by WorldACD Market Data and IATA show a somewhat changed picture for April as far as the air cargo business is concerned.
Nothing to panic about, but definitely a shift compared to the first quarter of this year.
Yields are moving up while growth stagnates a bit
This is the basic message in WorldACD’s April rundown.
The report highlights the fact that although growth in April showed a 7.7% volume increase, the worry that Africa is again lagging way behind in the otherwise positive trend.
It is hard to discern whether April figures could have been compared properly with those of March, due to the traditional Easter traffic which was notable during that month.
However, WorldACD data notes that combined March-April results showed an outbound increase of just over 12%, whereby inbound volume growth reached a 9,3% increase.
This, they state, is a stronger growth than the first two months of 2017.
An interesting and positive aspect noted in the figures is that the Asia Pacific growth remains steady, but the real winner in the region during the first four months of this year is Japan. The country seems to be bouncing back after having had a hard time during the past couple of years.
Other stars, but on a smaller scale, were Vietnam which continues on the road to becoming an economic power within its own region - and Poland, a small but maybe now becoming a strategic East European air cargo hub.
The pharma market again outdid itself and showed another remarkable increase. this time by +12.1% despite India, being one of the largest pharma producers, slipping back somewhat during the first four months.
The traditional perishable markets in Africa and South America showed very little increase, whereas countries sich as Norway (fresh fish) and Brazil headed the list with +15.6% and +16% respectively.
IATA tends to have more or less the same view
Their data gurus tell us that FTKs went up by 8.5% in April, but were well below the 13.4% increase shown in the March figures.
Easter traffic again?
Interesting to note is that IATA shows freight capacity on offer in April having slowed down somewhat to just +3.9%. This, as carriers continue to streamline capacity-on-offer by where possible, combining aircraft on passenger sectors.
The general feeling is that demand for air cargo transport remains on the upswing and that there is some, if not very much, indication that yields are starting to creep up somewhat.
IATA makes it clear that although figures are getting better month-by-month, that there is no real reason to be overjoyed as the industry is still battling with the need to modernize old fashioned processes which are the cause of keeping costs far higher than they should be.
Optimism, yes - but overjoyed -no!
It seems that the message is, although we are in the aviation cargo business - it’s best to keep our feet firmly on the ground!
John Mc Donagh