The international Air Transport Association (IATA) released figures for global air freight markets showing cargo volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) expanded 2.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. This was a slower pace of growth than the 5.0% growth recorded in 2014. The weakness reflects sluggish trade growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
After a strong start, air freight volumes began a decline that continued through most of 2015, until some improvements to world trade drove a modest pick-up late in the year. Cargo in Asia-Pacific, accounting for around 39% of freight traffic, expanded by a moderate 2.3%. The key markets of Europe and North America, which between them comprise around 43% of total cargo traffic, were basically flat in 2015. Latin America suffered a steep decline (-6.0%) while the Middle East grew strongly, up 11.3%. Africa also saw modest growth of 1.2%. The freight load factor (FLF) was at times the lowest for some years, falling to an average 44.1% compared to 45.7% in 2014, driven down by weak demand and capacity expansion.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO commented that 2015 was another very difficult year for air cargo. And growth has slowed and revenue is falling. Efficiency gains are critical as the sector adjusts to shortening global supply chains and evermore competitive market conditions.
The industry has to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion as the industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernize processes and improve the value proposition.
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