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First annual growth in year-on-year air cargo demand since February 2022

Data released for August 2023 global air cargo markets by IATA shows that year-on-year air cargo demand grew for the first time in 19 months, which is welcome news for the U-Freight Group and our expedited international airfreight services.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), increased by 1.5 per cent compared to August 2022 levels (1.2 per cent for international operations), IATA reported.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 12.2 per cent compared to August 2022 (11.8 per cent for international operations). IATA reports this was largely related to belly capacity which rose 30 per cent year-on-year as airlines ramped-up operations to meet peak-northern summer travel season demand.

IATA reports there are several factors influencing air cargo demand.

In August, both the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers Index or PMI (49.4) and new export orders PMI (47.0) saw a slight improvement to the previous month. They remained, however, below the critical threshold represented by the 50 mark, indicating a continuing, if slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.

Global cross-border trade contracted for the fourth month in a row in July, decreasing 3.2 per cent year-over-year. IATA says this reflects the cooling demand environment and general macroeconomic conditions.

Inflation saw a mixed picture in August, with an increase in US consumer prices for the second month in a row. Meanwhile in Europe and Japan, consumer and producer prices fell. In China, which is fighting deflationary pressures, consumer prices rose.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said: “Air cargo demand grew by 1.5 per cent over the previous August. This is the first year-on-year growth in 19 months, so it is certainly welcome news.

“But it is off a low 2022 base and market signals are mixed. Looking ahead, while many uncertainties remain, we can take some optimism from PMI data moving towards positive territory.

“This is particularly significant as we head into air cargo’s traditional peak year-end season.”

The full ‘Air Cargo Market Analysis’ for August 2023 can be found on the IATA website.

For more information about our global air freight forwarding and logistics services, please contact your local U-Freight office.