Airfreight rates rebound

Airfreight rates stabilised in April after Asian factories reopened after the Chinese New Year holiday period.


According to Drewry, airfreight rates stabilised in April, holding onto gains made in March as Asian factories reopened following the Chinese New Year holiday period.

Drewry’s East-West Air Freight Price Index, a weighted average of airfreight rates across 21 East-West trades, gained 1.5 points in April to 104.3 points. This followed a 6.6 point rise in March and took the index to its highest level since the end of last year. Freight rates remained stable on most of the 21 East-West trades that contribute to Drewry’s Index.

Drewry anticipated that the trade would hold onto the pricing gains of March, as this time of year usually heralds some recovery in seasonal demand, which buoys pricing. Asia-origin traffic is boosted by high-end summer fashion apparel and more high tech consumer goods launches.

But the recovery in airfreight pricing coincided with a bigger rise in container shipping rates, sending Drewry’s East-West Airfreight Price Multiplier down 0.5 points to 13.9 points. This brought the differential between air and ocean pricing down nearer to seasonal norms.

Cargo demand recovered strongly in March from February’s slump, as Chinese factories returned to normal production following closure over the Lunar New Year holiday season. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that global traffic jumped by almost a third compared to February’s lacklustre performance, while year-on-year March demand was ahead 6.7 per cent.