Aviation article(s)
February 14, 2024

Air cargo rates from China to North America and Europe surged by more than 14% and more than 8%, respectively, in the week before the Lunar New Year, according to a new Flexport report, although still below early December peaks.


The full-service global freight forwarder and logistics platform said disruptions in container shipping in the Red Sea may have contributed to the rate surge, prompting some sea freight from China to Europe to convert to sea-air shipments. 


The report noted strong traffic demand.


Flexport said there is strong ongoing air cargo demand from China to both Europe and North America, despite current disruptions and the seasonal impact of the Lunar New Year.


"Global air cargo demand and rates have continued to rise due to the Lunar New Year, with significant year-on-year tonnage increases supported by strong e-commerce traffic," it added.


For the period, worldwide tonnages saw a more than 25% increase in weeks 4 and 5 compared to the previous year, with significant rises from Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and South Asia, partly due to the conversion of sea freight to sea-air shipments.


Overall, Flexport said rates trend at over 32% compared to Feb 2019.


In terms of ocean shipping, the report noted that various rate indices are starting to show levels jumping by around US$500 per TEU as of February 1.


The full-service global freight forwarder and logistics platform said this was expected due to carriers introducing surcharges related to the Red Sea situation (contingency surcharges, emergency surcharges, PSS, etc.).


"Rates are expected to increase further in March due to equipment becoming limited in most parts of Europe (mainly south of Germany, Poland, and Western Mediterranean areas)," Flexport added.


Meanwhile, capacity remains relatively stable even though we have seen blank sailings and vessels redeployed on other trade lanes in order to help with the Red Sea situation. 


Flexport added that Panama Canal drought issues had "minimal impact" on container vessels transiting in January year-over-year.

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