Chinese New Year confirms air cargo slide in Asia Pacific: WorldACD

The usual strong dip after CNY was deeper this year than last year, and also lasted longer in terms of “low-business days”.

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Air cargo’s difficult start to 2016 was extended into February with worldwide volumes declining by 3.8 per cent year-on-year (YoY), the largest YoY volume drop in three years, according to the latest analysis by WorldACD Market Data. The origins Asia Pacific and North America were the main culprits with January/February together seeing these destinations posting YoY volume decreases of more than 7.0 per cent.

Africa, Europe and Middle East & South Asia each posted around 5.0 per cent growth for the same period. “Of course, the weak YoY figures for Asia Pacific and North America ought to be viewed against the backdrop of last year’s windfall due to the port strike in the United States,” WorldACD said also highlighting the negative impact of Chinese New Year on the February totals which was greater this year because it took place much earlier in the month than last year.

Negative YoY patterns around Chinese New Year (CNY) provided further confirmation of the air cargo slide in Asia Pacific. The usual strong dip after CNY was deeper this year than last year, and also lasted longer in terms of “low-business days”. From China and Hong Kong, the 2015 post-CNY-dip showed only one day with less than 10 per cent of the pre-CNY volumes; this year there were four such days.

But WorldACD highlighted that contrary to what other sources have reported, the more positive news is that worldwide yields, measured in USD, remained basically stable between January and February. There were considerable differences between the various origin regions, however: Africa and Europe were also leading in this category, with a 7.6 per cent jump in African yields and one of 2.2 per cent in European yields.

Some smaller countries stand out for their outstanding start to the year: In the first two months of 2016, revenues in USD increased YoY by 38 per cent from Morocco, 23 per cent from Chile, 13 per cent from Sri Lanka and 10 per cent from Bangladesh.

In the products domain, the transport of perishables reinforced its reputation of performing much better than general cargo with both volumes and yield declining in 2015 at a much lower percentage than general cargo.  “Does this trend weigh in on the much discussed modal shift from air to sea? Although certain perishables look immune to that shift so far, whether or not a modal shift may take place differs from country to country and from one commodity to another,” WorldACD said.

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