International freight volumes are expected to grow 17 percent over the next five years, for a compound annual growth rate of 3.2 percent, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its latest forecast.
The projection takes into account a conservative outlook of global economic recovery and world trade volumes over the coming years, according to the “International Air Transport Association Airline Industry Forecast 2013-2017.”
The air cargo industry moves more than US$6 trillion worth of goods annually, accounting for around 35 percent of total world trade, said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, in a written statement.
But the airfreight industry has been battling strong headwinds of late. “More recently, the relationship between international trade and GDP has broken down owing to rising trade barriers and ‘on-shoring’ of production,” Tyler noted, as he looked at the World Trade negotiations in Indonesia as a positive development.
“The successful conclusion of the World Trade Organization talks in Bali potentially could be very important in kick-starting trade growth,” he added.
By 2017, the five largest international freight markets will be in this order: the United States, China, Germany, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates, the report predicts.
Vietnam is expected to be the fastest growing country for airfreight volumes over the forecasting horizon, followed by Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Peru.
By region, Africa is projected to be the fastest growing over the period covered, with the fastest growing freight route being the inter-Africa market. This is followed by the Middle East, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America.
Freight carriage within the Asia-Pacific region will account for around 31 percent of the expected total increase in freight tonnage from 2012 to 2017.
The largest freight traffic shares in 2012 were within Asia-Pacific with 25.3 percent. Looking ahead to 2017, intra-Asia Pacific is expected to increase its share by around one percentage point to 26.2 percent.
The estimated imbalance in annual freight traffic flows from Asia to North America is expected to reach 1.1 million tonnes in 2017.
Europe-Asia Pacific and North and Mid-Pacific are both expected to be down by around 0.3 percentage points in 2017 compared with 2012.
Photo: Pieter v Marion