Drewry: How low can air freight rates fall?

Air freight rates stabilised in July, bringing to an end seven consecutive months of falling pricing in the wake of a marked slowdown in world cargo demand, according to Drewry. UK-based Drewry noted that its East-West Air Freight Price Index recovered 2.0 points in July to a reading of 90.3, lifting it off its lowest ever level since the index was first launched in May 2012.


Air freight rates stabilised in July, bringing to an end seven consecutive months of falling pricing in the wake of a marked slowdown in world cargo demand, according to Drewry. UK-based Drewry noted that its East-West Air Freight Price Index recovered 2.0 points in July to a reading of 90.3, lifting it off its lowest ever level since the index was first launched in May 2012.

In US dollar terms, this still left the benchmark well below the $3 per kg threshold, fi rst breached in May, but made up for some of the past two months’ losses. However, by comparison with the same month last year, the price index was 12 per cent adrift, indicative of the continuing underlying weakness in the market, Drewry said.

Th e rise in the index did not herald any market recovery, but rather a small correction to what remain record low rates. However, the fall in air freight pricing was more than matched by tumbling container shipping rates, which served to increase yet further the price diff erential between the two modes. Hence, Drewry’s East-West Air Freight Price Multiplier gained 0.6 points to x17.9, its highest level since October 2013.

June’s year-on-year demand growth slowed to just 1.4 per cent, well below recent trend and brought annualised growth for the fi rst six months of the year to a modest 3.9 per cent. Th e principle driver of stagnating global growth has been a marked slowdown in Asian cargo traffi c. Drewry is downgrading its forecast for airfreight demand, in light of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions.