Trade wars and tariffs remain a worry, but August was another month of growth for air cargo.

Air cargo

Freight demand rose again in August despite lingering concerns over trade tensions that could affect the cargo industry.

The latest data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose 2.3% in August, compared to the same period the year before.

Demand growth remained unchanged from July's 2.3%, but was less than half the five-year average growth rate of 5.1%.

The early focus of tariffs was not on products typically carried by air. But as the list of tariffs grows so does the air cargo industry’s vulnerability

For the six month in a row, freight capacity—measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs)—outstripped demand as it grew by 4.5% year-on-year in August. However, yields appear to be holding up.

Consumer confidence, an upturn in the global investment cycle and growing international e-commerce are supporting capacity growth, but demand continues to suffer from trade tensions, weakening export order books and longer supplier delivery times, which negates air freight's advantage of speed.

IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac warned once again of the damaging affects that any trade wars might have on freight.

"The early focus of tariffs was not on products typically carried by air. But as the list of tariffs grows so does the air cargo industry’s vulnerability," said de Juniac. 

"And, we can expect souring trading relations to eventually impact business travel. There are no winners in trade wars."

Top