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  • Writer's pictureAfrica Union Aviation

Navigating Turbulence: Airfreight Rates Soar Against All Odds

Under the header "Airfreight Rates Recovering Despite Headwinds," the riveting tale of the global air cargo market takes an electrifying twist. Let's embark on this exhilarating journey.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has unveiled the latest chapter in the saga of the air cargo market, set against the backdrop of July 2023. What unfolds is nothing short of a captivating narrative of resurgent growth rates, defying all odds.


Cargo Loading Machinery in the afternoon ,
Cargo Loading Machinery

In a resounding proclamation from the IATA, the demand for airfreight in July notches a mere 0.8% below the zenith of the preceding year. This revelation is nothing short of astounding, considering the headwinds faced by the industry.

While the current demand echoes the harmonious notes of 2022, this evolution marks a remarkable upswing in the performance chart. This feat becomes even more significant when juxtaposed with the staggering retreats in global trade volumes and the looming uncertainties surrounding China's economic prowess.


Globally, demand, quantified in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), resonates at a level just 0.8% shy of the grandeur that was July 2022 (-0.4% for international operations). This, by all accounts, stands as a profound improvement when compared to the prior month's figure, which recorded a sombre -3.4%.

As for capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), it surges by an impressive 11.2% in comparison to the bountiful July of the preceding year (8% for international operations).


This substantial leap in ACTKs is a testament to the industry's resilience, reflecting the growth in belly capacity, which escalates by a staggering 29.3% year-on-year, thanks to the welcoming embrace of the summer season.

In the midst of these turbulent skies, Willie Walsh, the venerable Director General of IATA, exclaims with resolute optimism, "Compared to July 2022, demand for airfreight remains steady. When you consider that we were adrift by 3.4% compared to 2022 in June, this is indeed a remarkable turnaround. It perpetuates the heartening trend of robust demand that first set sail in February."


He goes on to emphasise that the trajectory of this trend in the forthcoming months demands vigilant observation. "Many bedrock catalysts of airfreight demand, such as trade volumes and export orders, continue to languish in feebleness or face worrisome deterioration."

"And then there looms the spectre of China's economic landscape, which we keenly monitor. On the flip side, we are witnessing abbreviated delivery timelines, often indicative of a burgeoning economic dynamism. Amidst this symphony of mixed signals, the upswing in demand provides us with ample grounds for a cautiously optimistic outlook."


The African skies painted their own vivid story in July, with airlines from the continent recording a staggering 2.9% escalation in cargo volumes, triumphantly surpassing the paragon set by the same month in the preceding year. Remarkably, the Africa–Asia routes bore witness to an explosive surge in cargo demand, boasting a colossal 10.3% growth. In terms of capacity, it soared 11.0% above the celestial heights of July 2022.


In conclusion, the airfreight industry's triumphant tale, set against a backdrop of formidable headwinds, serves as an inspiration for UK cargo exporters. The resilience and unwavering spirit of the global air cargo market, as witnessed in July 2023, promise exciting times ahead for those navigating the high-flying world of cargo exports.

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