August Air Cargo Data Could Signal Better Peak Season Demand

August Air Cargo Data Could Signal Better Peak Season Demand

Decline in demand seen over the previous four months has slowed

Global air cargo market performance data for August offered a glimmer of hope for volumes in the upcoming peak season as the decline in demand has slowed and general air cargo rates between Europe and North America stabilized, according to the latest weekly analysis from CLIVE Data Services, part of Xeneta.

After -8% and -9% year-on-year falls in demand in June and July 2022, August volumes were a more modest -5% adrift of the August 2021 level and -4% compared to the pre-pandemic 2019.

Despite continuing transportation and supply chain chaos resulting from staff shortages in airports and airlines, global air cargo capacity in August recovered 7% from the same period last year, thanks to the surge of international summer travels in the northern hemisphere.

It also continued to narrow its recovery back to the market capacity level seen in 2019, now just 9% away.

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CLIVE’s ‘dynamic load factor' industry benchmark – which measures both the volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and available capacity to produce the best indicator of airline performance - dropped by 7% pts and 2% pts, compared to 2021 and 2019, respectively, to 58%, which is at a similar level as for the past three months.

August 2022 market data, however, could be an early signal of volumes and rates starting to pick up again, said Niall van de Wouw, Chief Airfreight Officer at Xeneta.

Expectations of a muted Q4 peak season remain due to continued supply chain disruptions, but Van de Wouw says the unexpected deviation from previous months seen in August could signal a better-than-expected end to the year for the air cargo market.

The air cargo market, however, remains chaotic and difficult to predict. Ongoing disruptions due to a lack of people resources, the war in Ukraine, industrial action, natural disasters, reports of record inventory levels in the US, high inflation, and more Covid-related lockdowns in cities in China promise more air cargo market volatility over the rest of the year.

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