Aviation article(s)
July 2, 2024

Worldwide average air cargo rates have continued to rise, despite a drop in tonnages to and from countries with predominantly Muslim populations linked to the Eid al-Adha annual festivals and holidays — which this year took place between June 16 and 20.


According to the latest weekly figures and analysis from WorldACD Market Data, total worldwide tonnages flown in the last full week (week 25, June 17-23) dropped by 5%, but average rates rose slightly (1%) to US$2.54 a kilo, up 10% compared with the equivalent week last year and significantly above pre-Covid levels or 43% higher compared to June 2019.



Combining the figures for the last two full weeks (weeks 24 and 25) reveals a 3% drop in tonnages compared with the previous two weeks, with rates up slightly (1%), based on a full-market average of spot rates and contract rates.


WorldACD said the fall in tonnages was driven by a 10% drop in Middle East and South Asia (MESA) origins.



Based on the more than 450,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD's data, region-to-region figures show big decreases in chargeable weight in both directions between Asia Pacific and MESA (15% eastbound; 13% westbound) and between Europe and MESA (12% eastbound; 7% westbound) on a 2Wo2W basis.


The air cargo market data provider said this highlights that the 2Wo2W decline for the MESA region applies to inbound as well as outbound cargo.


Turkey tonnages down 69%


Further analysis by WorldACD reveals that 14 of the world's top 60 countries by air cargo volume had a double-digit drop in outbound tonnages between week 24 and week 25.


The majority of these were countries with predominantly Muslim populations, with the steepest declines in outbound traffic occurring from Turkey (a drop of 69%), Saudi Arabia (66%), Egypt (46%) and Pakistan (39%), with Bangladesh (27%) and the UAE (24%) not far behind.


Several other countries with majority Muslim populations also recorded significant week-on-week (WoW) declines, including Indonesia (9%) and Malaysia (11%).


"Combining the outbound tonnages for the Arabian Gulf countries indicates that the falls in tonnages in week 25, compared with the previous six weeks, occurred mainly during the four days of the Eid al-Adha festival and holiday, WorldACD's analysis confirms. A similar effect is also observable for combined African origins," the analysis found.


Examining the traffic patterns from MESA to Europe — markets particularly affected by the continuing disruptions to container shipping caused by the attacks on vessels in the Red Sea — indicates that tonnages from MESA to Europe fell by 19%, WoW, in week 25, with drops of 30% from Dubai and 24% from Bangladesh.


In comparison, key Asian multimodal hubs Colombo and Bangkok recorded some declines, but far smaller (4% and 5%, respectively) than those occurring for those with predominantly Muslim populations.


MESA to Europe rates are still highly inflated


Meanwhile, WorldACD said on the pricing side, average MESA to Europe spot rates fell slightly (2%) in week 25, WoW, mainly due to a drop of 6% from Bangladesh, whereas prices to Europe from most other markets in the region remained stable or saw further rises.


But average spot rates in week 25 from MESA to Europe remain more than double (up 126%) their level this time last year, with Bangladesh to Europe rates averaging US$4.29 a kilo (up 165%, YoY), India to Europe rates averaging US$3.65 a kilo (up 159%), Colombo to Europe rates at US$3.01 a kilo (up 125%), and Dubai to Europe rates at US$2.36 a kilo (up 84%).


"Those Colombo to Europe and Dubai to Europe rates are close to their highest levels so far this year, but Bangladesh to Europe rates and India to Europe rates have fallen somewhat from their levels in April and May," WorldACD said.

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