Global air cargo tonnages dropped again in the third week of May, after having recovered from the dip at the beginning of the month due to the 1 May public holidays, while rates have remained more or less stable throughout the month, according to the latest weekly figures from WorldACD Market Data.

Figures for week 20 (15 to 21 May) show a decrease of -4% in tonnages and stable in average global air cargo prices, week on week, after tonnages recovered in the second week of May from the -10% drop in the first week – based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Comparing weeks 19 and 20 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages increased by +2% versus their combined total in weeks 17 and 18, while capacity remained stable and average worldwide rates decreased by -1%.

At a regional level, most origin regions showed an upward trend in tonnages on a 2Wo2W basis, following the drop at the start of May, except for a small (-1%) drop ex-Europe and a (-24%) correction ex-Central & South America following the surge of flower exports in late April and early May related to Mother’s Day.

Notable increases can be observed between Middle East & South Asia and Asia Pacific (eastbound +19%, westbound +18%), ex-Middle East & South Asia to Europe (+14%), ex-Asia Pacific to Europe (+11%), and intra-Asia Pacific (+11%).

Meanwhile, average pricing decreased slightly, on a 2Wo2W basis, from all of the main origin regions, with rates between Central & South America and North America among the most notable changes (northbound -11%, southbound -5%), along with a +5% jump in the rates outbound Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific.

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 19 and 20 was down -7% compared with the equivalent period last year. The most notable changes include double-digit percent decreases in year-on-year (YoY) tonnages ex-North America (-16%) and ex-Europe (-15%), while traffic ex-Middle East & South Asia is up +9%, YoY.

Overall capacity has increased by +13% compared with the previous year, with double-digit percentage increases from all regions except North America (+8%) and Central & South America (-9%). The most notable increase was ex-Asia Pacific (+43%).

Worldwide average rates are currently -37% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.49 per kilo in week 20, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.