Africa leads sluggish global freight market recovery – IATA

In Summary

African airlines posted the fastest growth of any region in a generally weak global freight market […]

African airlines posted the fastest growth of any region in a generally weak global freight market during March 2019, registering a 6pc increase in demand over the comparable period for 2018, according to data released by IATA today.

Although seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes were lower than their peak in mid-2017; IATA says, they are still 30pc higher than their most recent plateau in late-2015. African cargo capacity grew 15.2pc year-on-year.

According to IATA global air freight markets data, demand measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), increased 0.1pc in March 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

“While this is a significant improvement on the 4.9pc contraction in February, in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down 1.5pc over the past year,” IATA says observing that
global freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose 3.1pc year-on-year in March 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 11 out of the last 12 months.

With global trade volumes falling 1pc over the past year, IATA warns of “significant headwinds,” as global economic activity and consumer confidence continue to weaken. The export order component of the global manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has indicated falling global export orders since September 2018.

Despite that, IATA says the industry is still upbeat with only 13pc of respondents from IATA’s Business Confidence Survey expecting to see a decrease in freight volumes in 2019 compared to 2018.

“Year-on-year demand for air freight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1% growth. After four consecutive months of contraction, this is an encouraging development. But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

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