The results are in for November and, as expected, IATA reported that growth in the airfreight industry picked up substantially with the move into peak season, with freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) increasing by 8.8 percent, year-over-year, for the month.
While growth remains healthy, and November significantly outperformed October’s still-impressive 5.9 percent, y-o-y, growth, November figures stood slightly below the 9.7 percent, y-o-y, growth during the first 11 months of 2017, which – assuming December figures are as strong as expected – puts 2017 on track to become the year with the most robust y-o-y growth since the Great Recession rebound in 2010.
IATA figures for November are also in line with WorldACD’s November results, which highlighted Asia-Pacific market growth as a driving factor for its reported 8.9 percent, y-o-y, global growth in direct tonne-kilometres.
IATA also reported strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region (8.5 percent, y-o-y), with manufacturers in Japan and China experiencing increasing export demand, supported by increasing economic strength in Europe and ongoing strength in the United States.
International FTKs rose 9 percent, y-o-y, in November, with Africa seeing the strongest growth at 17.8 percent, but making up a small slice of the overall airfreight pie.
Europe, North America, and Latin America likewise saw healthy y-oy growth during the month, of 10.1 percent, 9.7 percent, and 9.6 percent, respectively, reflecting strengthening economies in Latin America and Europe, and strong import volumes from the U.S.
However, growth at this level can’t last forever, and IATA remarked in typically cautionary fashion that “this surge in growth, followed by a moderation, is consistent with signs that the global restocking cycle peaked in early-2017, and the related cyclical upturn – in which airfreight tends to outperform world trade volumes – looks to have run its course.”
Nevertheless, global manufacturing strength and e-commerce demand surpassing that seen during other peak seasons is keeping the airfreight sector strong for now. IATA, which last month predicted a strong first quarter with support from strong global economies, now expects annual FTK growth to continue through the first half of 2018 and overall annual growth of around 4.5 percent for 2018 as a whole.
With reports from ACW