Air cargo rates are bottoming out as global demand is set to grow in 2013 after two consecutive years of decline, according to the International Air Transport Association.
International air cargo traffic eased 0.3 percent in December year-over-year, but the seasonally adjusted trend showed further recovery to mid-2011 levels, the industry body said. Volumes increased month-to-month in December, up 0.8 percent from November, which registered a 2.4 percent gain on October.
“The downward pressure on air transport demand seen throughout 2012, particularly air freight markets, appears to be easing. Business confidence continues to improve, and current levels indicate stable growth in the months ahead.”
IATA expects global freight traffic to grow 1.4 percent in 2013, reversing declines of 1.5 percent in 2012 and 0.6 percent in 2011.
“The (cargo) industry suffered a one-two punch (in 2012),” according to Tony Tyler, IATA chief executive.
“World trade declined sharply, and the goods that were traded shifted toward bulk commodities more suited for sea shipping.
“The outstanding bright spot was the development of trade between Asia and Africa,” Tyler said, “which supported strong growth for airlines based in the Middle East and Africa,” which increased 2012 traffic by 14.7 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.
Asia-Pacific airlines were the hardest hit by the market downturn in 2012. Traffic fell 4.4 percent in December year-over-year and contracted 5.5 percent over the full year.
Air freight capacity was reduced throughout 2012, but demand fell faster, resulting in a slight decline in the global load factor to 49.5 percent from 51.9 percent in 2011.