March Air Cargo Volume Increased Most in 8 Years

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Air cargo volume increased by 14.6% year over year in March, the largest gain since the economic recovery years of 2009 and 2010, according to data reported Monday by WorldACD Market Data. U.S. cargo bound for overseas destinations added just 2.3%, compared with a global revenue increase of 14.7% for shipments destined for the United States. Revenues for outbound U.S. cargoes dropped 2.9%.

First-quarter 2017 performance of U.S.-based carriers as a group has trailed far behind all other regional carrier groups. For all carriers together, revenues from air cargo destined for the United States grew more strongly than for any other destination region — up 14.7% against an 8.5% uptick worldwide. But revenues on shipments from the United States showed the opposite trend: up just 2.3% versus an 8.5% gain worldwide. Revenues from domestic U.S. cargoes dropped by 2.9%.

Shipment volume originating in Europe and Asia-Pacific rose 19% and yields rose 5.6% for European shippers. Yields are equal to the average price paid by customers to transport one ton a distance of one mile.

The WorldACD Worldwide Weight Index rose by a full point to 122.8. The index is a moving average for the past 12 months, with January through December 2008 setting the baseline value of 100.

The United States showed strong year-over-year growth in dangerous goods (DGR), pharmaceuticals (PIL) and perishable cargo, even if from a small base. … The Europeans remain far ahead in total tons carried in PIL and DGR: their percentage growth may have been lower, but they still added an impressive 10% and 11%, respectively, to their volumes.

The WorldACD also offered the following observations:

Business was particularly upbeat from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, London, Milano, Frankfurt and Chicago: all had a growth of more than 20%. Contributing elements seemed to be sea-to-air shifts and the launch of new consumer products. A few other factors also helped to realize this unusual [year-over-year] growth. … We expect that April will be another very good month, but – in view also of the Easter-effect – [year-over-year] growth may stop around 10%.