Global air cargo tonnages and average rates have continued their slow rise into the third full week of September – their third consecutive week-on-week increase – taking tonnages to within 2% of their level this time last year, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data.

Weekly analysis

Figures for week 38 (18 to 24 September) show a small rise of +1% in both tonnages and rates, compared with the previous week, based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data. That follows tonnage growth of +2% and +3%, respectively, in weeks 36 and 37.

Comparing weeks 37 and 38 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages increased by +5% versus their combined total in weeks 35 and 36, while worldwide rates and capacity went up by +2%.

At a regional level, increases in tonnages (2Wo2W) were recorded most strongly on flows ex-North America to Europe (+11%), intra-Asia Pacific (+9%) and ex-North America to Asia Pacific (+9%). Other notable increases were recorded between Central & South America and Europe (northbound +8%, southbound +7%), and ex-North America to Central & South America (+8%). Tonnages ex-North America as a whole were up by a noteworthy +9%, on a 2Wo2W basis, partially driven by Labor Day in the USA and Canada on 4 September. The only lane that showed a notable decrease was ex-Africa to Europe (-3%).

On the pricing side, average global rates increased by +2% on a 2Wo2W basis, with the most notable rises ex-Asia Pacific to, respectively, Europe (+5%) and North America (+5%), and ex-Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific (+4%). The strongest drop was recorded on the lane ex-North America to Asia Pacific (-5%).

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 37 and 38 was down -2% compared with the equivalent period last year (YoY), with the most-notable change on an origin region level being a +9% rise ex-Asia Pacific. But, similar to previous reports, there were double-digit percentage decreases in tonnages ex-North America (-12%) and ex-Europe (-11%). Also, tonnages were slightly down for origin Africa (-2%), and Middle East & South Asia (-1%), but for origin Central & South America the tonnages were stable.

Overall capacity has increased by +11% compared with last year, as passenger air services continue to return to the market, with capacity ex-Asia Pacific up by a noteworthy +32%. Other significant YoY capacity increases can be observed ex-Middle East & South Asia (+10%), ex-North America (+9%), ex-Europe (+7%), while a drop was recorded ex-Central & South America (-4%).

Worldwide average rates are currently -32% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.32 per kilo in week 38, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+35% compared to September 2019).