WorldACD: Air cargo tonnages contract 5 percent in 2023


Global air cargo tonnages contracted 5 percent in 2023 year on year, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data. 

The first half of 2023 saw tonnages fall by 9 percent YoY, whilst the second half was characterised by an improving YoY performance for each consecutive month, with the period closing flat compared to 2022. 

Preliminary figures for the final week of 2023 indicate that tonnages in December were 5 percent above their level in December 2022, driven by positive growth ex-Asia Pacific (up 17 percent YoY) and ex-Middle East & South Asia (up 14 percent), and ex-Central & South America (up 7 percent). 

The final two weeks of the year also showed a 5 percent uplift compared with last year, in line with the YoY improvement recorded in the previous month. 

WorldACD earlier predicted the fourth quarter as the only quarter in 2023 that would show positive growth (up 3 percent) in tonnages compared to last year, following significant but gradually diminishing YoY declines in the first three quarters. 

Worldwide average rates were 18 percent below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.49 per kilo in week 52, but still significantly above pre-Covid levels (up 39 percent compared to December 2019). 

Meanwhile, overall available capacity grew 8 percent compared to last year, with capacity ex-Asia Pacific up by a noteworthy 19 percent. Other regions also showed significant capacity increases, particlarly on routes ex-Middle East & South Asia (up 9 percent), ex-Africa (up 8 percent), ex-North America (up 6 percent, and ex-Europe (up 5 percent. Capacity ex-Central & South America also inched up 1 percent YoY. 

WorldACD predicts some conversion of sea freight to air freight in the coming weeks, given the recent disruptions to container shipping in the Red Sea, should this continue.


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