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Airfreight ‘edging towards recovery’ says analyst

[ October 7, 2020   //   ]

The global air cargo market edged towards a sustainable recovery at the start of the traditional peak season, say industry analysts CLIVE Data Services in its latest index.

Chargeable weight in September rose 9% points month-on-month, further narrowing the year-on-year gap to -15%, the fifth consecutive month of positive indicators since April 2020’s 37% decline in volumes versus the same month of 2019. CLIVE Data Service’s ‘dynamic load factor’ – based on both the volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available – averaged 70% in September, a 2%-point increase versus August 2020 and 8% points higher year-on-year. The 71% figure for the week of Sep 28-Oct 4 was the highest ever recorded by CLIVE.

Global air cargo capacity in September was, on average, 25% less than in the same month of last year.

CLIVE managing director, Niall van de Wouw, said: “A fifth consecutive month of gradual air cargo market improvements may not be sensational news but, in this case, sometimes boring is good. In fact, our latest weekly analyses reveal more positivity than I would have expected based on the global impact of government actions to restrain the spread of COVID-19. The air cargo market seems to be quite resilient.”

But he warned: “While this might be encouraging news for airlines, it means shippers and forwarders are being faced with higher airfreight costs. Uncertainty over how the market will develop alongside very high load factors is a toxic combination for the buyers of airfreight capacity. If this demand persists, and shippers are prepared to pay, we may well see a resurgence in passenger planes being deployed mainly or solely for moving freight. These remain uncertain times but with more optimism in the market for October and November volumes, the question is: how far can the recovery go?”

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