The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose 2.3% in August 2018, compared to the same period the year before.
This pace of growth was unchanged from the previous month but was less than half the five-year average growth rate of 5.1%.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 4.5% year-on-year in August 2018.
This was the sixth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.
Yields, however, appear to be holding up.
Growth is being supported by a number of factors, including buoyant consumer confidence, an upturn in the global investment cycle and growing international e-commerce. However, demand is being negatively impacted by three factors:
- A broad-based weakening in manufacturing firms’ export order books. Specifically, export order books in Europe, China, Japan and Korea have fallen in recent months.
- Longer supplier delivery times are being reported by manufacturers in Asia and Europe, the top two global trading areas by volume. This typically means that they have less need for the speed afforded by air freight.
- Risks to global trade from the recent escalation in trade tensions.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, said: “August demand for air cargo grew at 2.3%, unchanged from the previous month.
“Buoyant consumer confidence, the growth of international e-commerce and the broad-based global economic upturn are behind the growth.
“But there are downside risks. Order books are weakening and supply delivery times are lengthening and the growing trade tensions are a spectre over the industry.
“The early focus of tariffs was not on products typically carried by air.
“But as the list of tariffs grows so does the air cargo industry’s vulnerability and we can expect souring trading relations to eventually impact business travel [as] there are no winners in trade wars.”
Read more: Global Air Cargo Sees July Jump