WorldACD reported that worldwide air cargo volume in August declined by 17.2% year-on-year, based on over 1.5 million data reported as shipments carried also dropped by 29%.
A WorldACD statement said, however, that revenue for the period increased by 37%, which it said is due to the higher US dollar rates which was up 65% compared to a year ago.
The report said the origin region Asia Pacific lost the least volume, while the origins Europe and MESA (the Middle East & South Asia) lost most of the volume during the period.
WorldACD noted that North America was – not for the first time – the one region that could not compensate for the year-on-year loss of volume with a sufficient rate hike.
Preliminary figures for the first half of September indicate that volume remains down by 17% from levels seen a year ago. YoY. Taking a first look at yields in this period, they look stable so far at US$2.83, the same as in August.
"Not a single day passes without news about an upcoming capacity shortage: ‘regular’ autumn shipments coming in or vaccines against COVID-19 hitting the market. Charter capacity is more difficult to come by. Ever since our industry was severely hit by the effects of the pandemic, predictions and reports about sky-high rates have abounded," IATA said in a statement.
March through August record
IATA said looking at the full COVID-19 period up till now, from the month of March 2020, chargeable weight dropped 22%, while revenues in USD increased 34% and rates/yields was also up 73% from US$1.77 to US$3.06.
"This drastic shift in the market took place in a world which produced much less cargo capacity. In February, the year-on-year capacity figures were perfectly normal, but since then the figures changed dramatically: in June, Available Ton Kilometers were down by 45% YoY, whilst in August, this figure still stood at -39%," it added.
Yields highest in May
IATA noted that in all origin regions, average monthly yields/rates (in USD) were highest in the month of May and came down gradually since then, IATA said, was a "true rollercoaster in most origin regions.
In the top 10 markets, the highest average monthly rate/yield measured was 9.81 USD inMay for the China South East – USA Pacific States, IATA said.
In five of these top 10 markets, IATA said yields/rates in August were half of what they were in May.
Hong Kong, the world's busiest cargo airport, it said, had clearly lower yields/rates than China in May, but its yields/rates fell by much less than 50% from May to August.
Of the top 40 markets in the world in 2019, IATA said nine grew in 2020, while six markets dropped from the Top-40. In other words, IATA said there were "no revolutionary changes in the market order."
Special Cargo performance better than General Cargo
"The top 100 markets as a group certainly improved their position, as they lost much less volume than the smaller markets. Thirty markets of the Top-100 grew in 2020, 11 from Hong Kong and 9 from different parts of China," IATA said.
It noted that Special Cargo did much better than general cargo in terms of volume, but the yield/rate change, it said, was telling in general cargo, partly as a consequence of the many charters and PPE flights recorded under General Cargo.
It added that for the first time, yields/rates for general cargo topped those for special cargo as a group.
"Charters were important in this period: whilst volumes in all weight breaks decreased considerably in the top markets (ranging from -34% to -25%), shipments over 5,000 kg in these markets showed a volume growth (+2%). And the larger the shipment size, the higher the YoY increase in yield/rate (ranging from +27% to +87%)," IATA said.
Meanwhile, it said that the increase in Express shipments was also "by far the highest" among large shipments.
"We learned another thing in the last few months. By combining the large body of flight and market data available to us, we are now able to distinguish - for a growing number of markets - between rates on passenger aircraft and those on freighters," IATA said.
Capacity Growth vs Freight Carried
The number of flights from the first week of July through the second week of September increased by 16%.
Whereas the number of freighter flights increased by 2%, passenger aircraft flights increased by 18%. Since June, monthly volumes as a % of last year’s monthly volumes, have hardly been growing, and worldwide capacity-growth is now outpacing volume-growth.