Air cargo tonnages down 20 percent from 2022 new year

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Global air cargo tonnages have shown a strong post-holiday season recovery in the second week of 2023, but remained 20 percent below 2022’s numbers.

This upswing is delayed compared with last year, when tonnages had already begun to recover by the end of the first week. However, when combining the first two weeks of 2023, the recovery is similar in magnitude to last year, the latest preliminary figures from WorldACD Market Data indicate.

Figures for January 9 to 15 show a jump of 19 percent in worldwide tonnages compared with the previous week, while last year in the same period an increase of 13 percent was observed. When looking at the first two weeks together, the scale of this year’s recovery (up 18 percent) is similar to that seen last year (up 16 percent). Average rates continued to hold firm into the second week of 2023, whereas last year a decrease was recorded of two percent compared with the previous week.

Comparing weeks one and two with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), tonnages decreased eight percent below their combined total in weeks 51 and 52, with a three percent increase in capacity, while average worldwide rates declined one percent – based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Despite the strong recovery compared with the previous week, tonnages were still down from all regions in this two-week period. On a regional level, tonnages outbound Europe were down to all other regions, on a 2Wo2W basis, with the most notable decreases to Africa (23 percent), Middle East & South Asia (22 percent) and Asia Pacific (17 percent).

Furthermore, intra-Asia Pacific tonnages were down by 16 percent. But some positive developments were also recorded. Middle East & South Asia to Europe was up 13 percent, from North America to Europe up five percent, and from Central & South America to North America also up five percent .

Year-on-year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 1 and 2 was down 20 percent compared with the equivalent period last year, when there was eight percent lower capacity. Notably, tonnages ex-Asia Pacific are 27 percent below their strong levels this time last year, and ex-North America are 25 percent down. But there were also double-digit percent year-on-year drops on tonnages outbound from Europe (15 percent) and Middle East & South Asia (14 percent).

Overall capacity has increased eight percent compared to the previous year from all regions, most notable ex-Africa (+18 percent), ex-North America (+11 percent) and ex-Middle East & South Asia (+10 percent)

Worldwide rates are currently 25 percent below their unusually elevated levels this time last year at an average of US$3.06 per kilo in week two, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, but they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.