Friday, November 26, 2010

IATA October Freight Figures Encouraging

Cargo Transport Up Over 14%
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – Figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and garnered from the organisation’s 230 scheduled air carriers, show another real boost in comparison to the previous year. Cargo levels rose almost as much as the year on year September increase (15.5%) with a leap of 14.4% in the volume of freight carried in a like to like comparison.

CEO Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General was happy but cautious:

“A single month does not make a trend. And it remains to be seen if this is the stabilization in freight volumes or the start of an upward trend. As we approach the end of 2010, growth is returning to a more normal pattern. Passenger demand is 5% above pre-crisis levels of early 2008, while freight is 1% above. Where we go from here is dependant on developments in the global economy. The US is spending more to boost its economy. Asia outside of Japan is barrelling forward with high-speed growth. And Europe is tightening its belt as its currency crisis continues. The picture going forward is anything but clear, but for the time being, the recovery seems to be strengthening.”

For the IATA respondents, who represent 93% of scheduled air carriers, airfreight appears to be at a turning point. Since May, freight volumes have declined by 5%. October saw an end to the decline in freight with a slight uptick. Improvements in demand are being met by a cautious approach, cargo capacity expansion of 9.2% was well below the demand increase of 24% and forward schedules indicate a continuation of this trend.

Asia-Pacific airlines reported a 14.9% year-on-year increase in international freight demand, down from the 16.2% recorded in September. October’s growth translates to an impressive 22% annualized growth rate for the region’s carriers, reflecting the strong economic recovery particularly in China and India. With a 44% share of total freight traffic, the growth experienced by Asia-Pacific airlines played a large role in the uptick seen in overall industry freight volumes during October.

European airlines recorded a 12.1% year-on-year demand increase in October. North American carriers saw a slightly larger improvement of 12.2%. For both regions, October freight volumes represented a 6% improvement on freight volumes carried in December 2009. Relative weakness in the Euro and dollar is helping export activity and boosting freight traffic. Even so, traffic remains 12% below pre-recession levels of early 2008 for European airlines and just 2% higher in North America.

Photo: 747 Large Cargo Freighter Development courtesy Boeing Corporation.