2Good 1st Half - Yield & rate news abounding

The first half of 2014 is behind us, and what a good half for air cargo it was! June maintained this year’s average with its 4.8% volume growth year-over-year (YoY). Revenue grew even more: for the first time in 2.5 years, we registered a month with a YoY increase in the worldwide USD-yield (+0.9%). The WorldACD Index inched further upwards for the 12th consecutive month (to 111.1). Once again, volumes increased most from Asia Pacific (+9.6%). Europe was the weakest area in June (outgoing volumes down by 1.5% YoY), but more than compensated with a 5.2% yield growth in USD (+2.1% in EUR).

Business between Asia Pacific and North America got a real boost in June, with a 17% volume increase in both directions. The biggest USD-revenue gains in the month went to airlines from the Middle East and from Asia Pacific. On average they added 9.7% YoY. Middle Eastern airlines achieved this through a mixture of volume and yield growth, whilst airlines from Asia Pacific on average owed their revenue growth purely to volume increase.

Lately, there has been a lot of news about yields and rates: a group of smaller forwarders and a shipping expert state that they intensify their co-operation on a yield index for certain trade lanes, another selection of forwarders is said to be involved in setting up a different rate index, a recent survey among air cargo executives points towards yield improvements, pundits state that air cargo yields suffer because of modal shift, etc. etc. Enough reason to investigate yield trends: we looked at USD-yields over the years, as captured in our database.

Since Jan 2011, yields varied between USD 2.55 (April 2011) and USD 2.11 (July last year). Surely, yields are falling. But beware: this statement is not true for quite a number of the many individual markets that make up the total market. Of the twelve region-to-region markets shown monthly on our website, six showed a yield for January 2014 close to, or higher than, the yield for Jan 2008, which was a few months before the “big drop”.

Comparing H1-2011 with H1-2014, we saw the following:

• the worldwide drop in yields was 10%;
• 17 of the top-100 city pairs in the world (15 with Europe as origin), had higher yields in 2014;
• the same was true for 137 of the top-500 country pairs (28 with USA as origin);
• airlines from MESA lost only 6% in yield, but airlines from Asia Pacific lost 14%;
• the only product category with a growing yield was pharma (+3.75%);
• yields of the world's top-20 forwarders dropped by almost 2%-points more than the yields of other forwarders did.

To make sense of yields, they should be viewed per O&D, from three different perspectives: against a fixed starting point, against the same period in previous years, and against the latest 12-months average. These three metrics usually give different outcomes, and thus a more balanced view.

NB: To appreciate the above figures, it may be helpful to know that WorldACD records the data of about 2 million Air Way Bills each month. We presently have almost 200 million transactions in our database, containing the worldwide information from over 50 airlines, on over 15,000 forwarders, for shipments of all weight categories..