Global Freight Has Strongest Start To Year Since 2015

April 4, 2018

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Global air freight demand for February showed the strongest start to a year since 2015, IATA said in its monthly update, citing robust global trade flows as a contributing factor.

Demand growth (in freight tonne kms) for the month was 6.8 percent compared to February last year. Adjusting for Lunar New Year distortions by combining growth in January and February 2018, demand increased by 7.7 percent, the International Air Transport Association said.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kms, grew 5.6 percent in February, the 19th consecutive month demand has outstripped capacity growth.

“Demand for air cargo continues to be strong,” IATA's Director General Alexandre de Juniac said. “The positive outlook for the rest of 2018, however, faces some potentially strong headwinds, including escalation of protectionist measures into a full-blown trade war. Prosperity grows when borders are open to people and to trade, and we are all held back when they are not.”

All regions reported an increase in demand in February, with Africa returning a particularly robust 15.9 percent uptick for the month. Latin America was second in terms of growth with 8.7 percent, and the Middle East third on 7.4 percent. North America saw demand increase by a whisker less at 7.3 percent.

Africa added just 3.9 percent more capacity, resulting in a 2.9 percent lift in freight load factor, but from a low 28.5 percent base. The Middle East added the most capacity in February with 7.6 percent, Asia Pacific increased by 7.2 percent, and Latin America by 6.9 percent. North America added 4.1 percent more capacity during the month.