Subdued global trade continues to depress cargo: ACI

Significant air freight declines were observed in Asia-Pacific and North America in February and March.


ACI Airports Council International


The latest figures from the Airports Council International (ACI) show a marginal growth in total air freight traffic worldwide, up 1.1 per cent in March 2016 as compared to the previous year, but largely sustained by domestic growth. International freight traffic dropped by 2.1 per cent whereas domestic freight traffic increased by a full 9.0 per cent.

Accumulated freight traffic for the first quarter of 2016 shows no increase in volumes as compared to the previous year. International freight oscillated between -1.0 and +1.0 per cent over the course of the year and dipped into negative territory three times within the last six months on a year-on-year basis. Significant air freight declines were observed in Asia-Pacific and North America in February and March.

Passenger air traffic, even taking into account the moderate slowdown after two months of high growth, is significantly stronger as compared to air freight, where industry-wide capacity growth is in collision with falling demand. Global trade growth remains subdued, while international tourism is on the rise, ACI noted.

Asia Pacific
On the individual airport level, the air freight landscape in Asia-Pacific is mixed. While some freight hubs recorded robust growth – Shanghai-Pudong (PVG, +5.7 per cent), Singapore (SIN, +5.2 per cent), Beijing (PEK, +6.0 per cent), Guangzhou (CAN, +14.3 per cent) and Delhi (DEL, +17.5 per cent), several airports experienced air freight declines, including Seoul (ICN, -4.0 per cent), Tokyo-Narita (NRT, -10.3 per cent), Taipei (TPE, -3.5 per cent) and Bangkok (BKK, -1.4 per cent).