2JanJJaNovember 2015: first year-on-year drop in monthly volume since June 2013, but some glimmers of hope

Going by the bare worldwide monthly figures, November 2015 was not a good month for air cargo. For the first time in 2.5 years, monthly volume dropped YoY (-0.9%). Although USD-yields improved for the third month in a row, the 1% increase was smaller than the usual yield improvement from October to November. However, the MoM yield increase was in line with last year’s when taking into account the major exchange rate effects.

Even when viewing the last three months together (November had five Sundays and Mondays, traditionally not the best cargo days), there is no escaping the facts: (i) September-November showed a YoY volume growth of 1% only, well below the YoY increase of 2.6% until August, and (ii) November was weaker than October, for the first time since 2011.

Is it all bad news then towards the year’s end?

The answer is no, thanks to China and Hong Kong. Together, these usual growth engines account for almost 30% of worldwide revenues. Their exports by air to Europe had been below previous year’s volumes for a good part of 2015, but over the past months this negative pattern was reversed. The destination North America had already performed well since the beginning of 2015 and continued that trend towards the year’s end. And the yield developments (in USD) were even more encouraging. Contrary to recent figures from other sources, we observe rather positive yield patterns for the origin Asia Pacific: between August and November, yields rose by 17% to Europe, and by 10% to North America.

However, intra - Asia Pacific air cargo suffered. YoY volumes were down by 4% in November, and by 1.3% for the last three months.  And coupled with that, the average USD-yield in the area fell by 4% since August 2015.

How did other areas fare since August? Volumes from Africa, Europe and the Middle East & South Asia (MESA) grew more than average (by 4, 4 and 2% respectively), whilst volumes from the Americas contracted compared to 2014. But in Central & South America, compensation was found in strongly growing yields between August and November (+13%).

Perishables and pharmaceuticals remain positive, also over the past three months, with YoY volume growth of 5% respectively 10.5%. Whilst perishables shared in the small yield upswing since last August, pharmaceuticals did not: their rapid growth is accompanied by a USD-yield drop of 5% since September. When measuring in EUR however, the main currency for pharma, the picture is much more positive.

Carriers from North America contracted by 3% YoY (volume-wise) on average over the past three months. Their colleagues from Asia Pacific and Europe hardly grew. Carrier groups from Africa and MESA noted growth of 2% respectively 7%.

By the way, did you know that we publish - besides our worldwide yield index - a separate monthly yield index for a number of interregional markets? Go to www.worldacd.com/index and see Yield Index Regions.

Last but not least, we wish everyone in the air cargo community a happy & healthy 2016.