As ocean shipping volumes and rates rise on trades out of Asia in anticipation of the traditional factory shutdown on February 10, whether air cargo operators will also benefit from a usual boost as the deadline approaches remains unclear.
Air cargo demand from Chinese airports and Hong Kong has increased this month “a little bit, but not much”, according to Paul Tsui, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics.
But Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Damco North Asia, said that the general rate increase planned for January was postponed by some air carriers from Jan. 1 to Jan. 15.
A spokesman for Air France-KLM told JOC that demand ex China so far was below expectations. “We have not had the same pressure on demand for additional capacity as we had in the previous years,” he said.
The lack of clarity may be due to the fact that Chinese New Year falls later in 2013 than it did in 2012, which could mean that air demand has not yet fully kicked in as shippers use ocean and sea-air options while they still have time to do so. The later holiday will also skew air cargo and ocean comparisons for both January and February.
“While it is usual for an increase in cargo tonnage before the Chinese New Year period, we are monitoring closely the latest cargo volumes to see the trend,” said a spokesman for the Airport Authority of Hong Kong. “Traditionally we should combine the figures for January and February for comparison as the Chinese New Year falls in different months for different years.”
Contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org.