Global air cargo tonnages have held firm in the first full week of September, after dropping -3% at the end of August and in the first few days of September, while average rates continue to hover at around the same level they have since mid July – between $2.26 and $2.29 per kilo, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data.

Weekly analysis

Figures for week 36 (4 to 10 September) show stable tonnages, compared with the previous week, while average worldwide air cargo prices increased slightly (+1%), based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

Comparing weeks 35 and 36 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), overall tonnages and worldwide rates also remained flat versus their combined total in weeks 33 and 34, while capacity continued to decrease slightly (-1%), as it has since the second week of August.

At a regional level, decreases in tonnages (2Wo2W) were recorded most strongly on flows ex-North America (-8%) – impacted by Labor Day in the USA and Canada on 4 September – respectively, to Europe (-12%), Asia Pacific (-8%), and to Central & South America (-7%). Following the end of the main European summer holiday season, notable increases were recorded on flows between Europe and Asia Pacific (westbound +7%, eastbound +6%), ex-Europe to North America (+6%) and ex-Middle East & South Asia to Asia Pacific (+7%). On the pricing side, average global rates remained stable on a 2Wo2W basis, along with prices from the main origin regions, with no notable deviations among the main regions.

Year-on-Year perspective

Comparing the overall global market with this time last year, chargeable weight in weeks 35 and 36 was down -7% compared with the equivalent period last year (YoY), with double digit percentage decreases in tonnages ex-North America (-20%) and ex-Europe (-13%). Tonnages ex-Africa were down -5%, while the other origin regions remained flat (Central & South America) or showed mild decreases (Asia Pacific -1%, Middle East & South Asia -2%).

Overall capacity has increased by +7% compared with last year, with capacity ex-Asia Pacific up by a noteworthy +23%. Other significant YoY capacity increases can be observed ex-Middle East & South Asia (+8%) and ex-Europe (+7%), while a significant decrease was recorded ex-Central & South America (-7%).

Worldwide average rates are currently -35% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.29 per kilo in week 36, although they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels (+33% compared to September 2019).