Cargo industry posts slowest rate of growth since March 2016.

Freight growth

IATA has expressed its disappointment following the news that freight demand growth held flat in November.

Demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), suffered the slowest rate of growth (0%) since March 2016, after 31 consecutive months of year-on-year increases.

Although demand stood still, freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), rose by 4.3%.

Normally the fourth quarter is a peak season for air cargo. So essentially flat growth in November is a big disappointment

“Normally the fourth quarter is a peak season for air cargo. So essentially flat growth in November is a big disappointment,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“While our outlook is for 3.7% demand growth in 2019, downside risks are mounting. Trade tensions are cause for great concern. 

“We need governments to focus on enabling growth through trade, not barricading their borders through punitive tariffs.”

Despite the continued growth of international e-commerce, overall demand faced notable difficulties. 

The industry has had to deal with signs of weakness in global economic activity, a contraction in export order books in all major nations except the US, shorter supplier delivery times in Europe and Asia, and weakened consumer confidence.

Regional performance was split down the middle, with North and Latin America, and the Middle East reporting demand growth in November. Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe all contracted.

See the full breakdown by region below: 

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight shrink by 2.3% in November 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. Capacity increased by 3.1%.
  • North American airlines posted the fastest growth of any region for the second consecutive month in November 2018 with an increase in demand of 3.1% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 6.3%. 
  • European airlines experienced a contraction in freight demand of -0.2% in November 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 3.1% year-on-year. 
  • Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes expanded 1.7% in November 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 7.8% over the same period. 
  • Latin American airlines’ freight demand rose 3.1% in November 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Capacity increased by 2.0%.
  • African carriers saw freight demand decrease by 7.8% in November 2018, compared to the same month in 2017. Capacity shrank 7.4% year-on-year.
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