Global air cargo tonnages up 12% in first half of 2024

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  • Global air cargo tonnages were up 12% in the first half of 2024 compared to the same period last year
  • Analysis from WorldACD Market Data showed 11% year-on-year growth in the second quarter following the +12% recorded in Q1
  • Strong growth continued from Asia Pacific but with demand from Middle East and South Asia origins dropping back somewhat from the highly elevated tonnage growth levels experienced in the first quarter

Global air cargo tonnages rose 12% in the first half of the year compared to the equivalent figure last year.

Early figures and analysis from WorldACD Market Data showed 11% year-on-year growth in the second quarter after the 12% recorded in the first quarter.

June’s preliminary 9% increase was slightly below the average YoY tonnage growth for the year thus far, with strong growth continuing from the Asia Pacific region, but with demand the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) slipping from the highly elevated tonnage growth levels of the first quarter.

WorldACD Market said the 13% rise in tonnages from MESA origins in the second quarter were still significantly higher than the same period last year. However, that growth was well below the 27% growth recorded in the first quarter. The region continues to be affected by disruptions to container shipping caused by attacks on vessels plying the Red Sea.

From the Asia Pacific region, tonnages were up 18% YoY, close to the 20% YoY growth recorded in the first three months of the year.

Tonnages from the world’s main regions in Q2 were higher than the same period last year, with Europe volumes higher by 7%, Africa by 6%, and North America and Central and South America (CSA) by 5%.

For the first half of this year, demand was likewise up YoY globally, with Asia Pacific and MESA topping the list, both at 19%. Meanwhile, single digit increases were experienced in Africa at 8%, Europe at 7%, CSA at 5% and North America at 2%.

Average global air cargo rates were at $2.39/kilo in the first six months of 2024 while contract rates were down by 8%.

Decline was due to hard comparison in the first quarter with the higher rates of $2.76/kg still present.

While global average rates in the first four months of the year were down compared to 2023, by May they were back in positive territory at 2%. The gap widened further to 9% last month, when the average was $2.52/kilo. The latest full week’s average global rates dropped slightly to $2.51/kilo, based on 450,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD data. The figure was up 9% YoY, and much higher than pre-COVID levels of 41% compared to June 2019.

Total global tonnages in the latest week on record rose 3% after losing 5% in the previous two weeks. The hike was mainly due to the Eid al-Adha festivals throughout the Islamic world between June 16-20.