Amsterdam air cargo falls on weak Asian demand

Amsterdam air cargo falls on weak Asian demand

Weak Asian demand pulled down cargo traffic at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the first six months of the year, another sign of how China’s slowing economy is curbing shipments of high-value products such as electronics and auto parts.

Cargo volume through the third largest European air cargo hub slipped 2.1 percent in the first half compared to the same period in 2014, as Asia traffic fell 3.8 percent to 293,293 metric tons, according to airport statistics. Asia cargo volume accounted for slightly more a third of total traffic.

Traffic increases to North America and Latin America, 4.7 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, couldn’t offset the 16.2 percent drop in European volume and 3.4 percent decrease in Middle Eastern traffic. African cargo volume slipped 0.1 percent in the same period.

“It’s disappointing that we have not seen some growth again in 2015 so far but, given the current softness of our major market, China, the tonnages are better than we might have expected,” Jonas van Stekelenburg, the newly appointed director of cargo at the airport, said in a statement.

The weakness of the Russian economy, beset by Western trade sanctions and low oil prices, hit flower exports to the country for Valentine’s Day, he said. The decline in traffic isn’t as severe as it might appear since cargo volume was up 7.2 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2014 and traffic in the first half of 2015 is 6.5 percent higher than the same period in 2013, van Stekelenburg said.