Home » Aviation, Breaking News » General cargo declines but special cargo soars in Sep—WorldACD

As with the previous months of the year, September saw worldwide air cargo volume shrink, declining by 5.4% year-on-year, with Asia-Pacific the hardest hit region, according to WorldACD market data.

But even as general cargo fell 8.7% year-on-year, special cargo continues to expand, growing 2.7% in September. Of these special cargoes, high-tech & other vulnerable goods increased by 9.1%, while pharma & temperature-controlled goods rose by 10.2%. Perishables in total grew 1.4% year-on-year—fish & seafood did best (+10.2%) and flowers did worst (-1.1%).

Meanwhile, yield in US dollar terms contracted by 11.5% in September year-over-year, and revenues from air cargo declined by 16.3%. The cargo load factor dropped by 3.6 percentage-points.

All origin regions suffered. Asia-Pacific had the biggest decline with volumes down by 5.8% year-on-year, and revenues shrank by 18.9%. Africa sustained the least damage, with volumes down by 3.2% year-on-year, and revenues falling by 6.2%. The destination Middle East & South Asia did better than all other destination areas with a volume contraction of only 1%.

In the first three quarters of the year, meantime, all areas showed negative year-on-year trends, both in outgoing and in incoming volumes, except  Africa, where outbound registered a small 1.1% increase.

WorldACD also compared the top 40 origin countries and found that only 10 of these grew their volumes in the first three quarters of 2019, with the report linking the growth to special cargo.

The 40 largest origin countries together produce 87% of the total air cargo volume in the world.

Of these 40, the 10 with volume increase registered a combined growth of 8.3% in January-September 2019 year-on-year. For the rest combined, growth was negative (-7.4%).

Notably, the 10 countries increased their combined special cargo volume by 10.3% during the first nine months of 2019 compared to the year-ago period. The other 30 countries only grew theirs by 0.6%.

But more significantly, in the top 10 countries combined, more than half of the total cargo consisted of special cargo (51.4% for the first three quarters of 2018 vs 52.3% for the same period this year). For the other 30 countries, the share of special cargo is only a quarter.

For years now, special cargo has outgrown general cargo, a trend propelled by an increased worldwide demand for special products, in particular perishables.

Norway, Kenya, Colombia and Chile—countries in which outgoing special cargo accounts for more than 80% of the total—are all part of the top 10 group. Norway is the top country with a growth of almost 20%, whilst Pakistan and Vietnam also score growth above 10%.

The group is completed by Egypt, Indonesia, South Africa and China. The latter had no overall growth, but it recorded a 12.8% year-on-year growth in special cargo (mainly high-tech products).

Special cargo also has a role to play in terms of yields/rates, said WorldACD. In the first three quarters of 2019, yield dropped by 8% year-on-year for general cargo, but by 4% for special cargo. For the top 10 countries, their combined special cargo yields dropped by 2% only.

Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz on Unsplash

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