In December of 2019 global air cargo
business dipped by 1.7% YoY, but that was not the worst, in fact that
1.7 number in a year where the walls kept tumbling down was the smallest
decrease since January 2019.
Revenues as compared to 2018 a boom
year, were down 11.7%
Last year can be recalled as a time
that delivered less than spectacular numbers with tariffs and trade wars
and upheaval in Hong Kong, that turned the most powerful air cargo gateway
in the world into silly putty .
So overall, world air cargo chargeable
weight dipped by 4.4% in 2019, Air Cargo Data (ACD) reported Thursday
By the numbers December cargo load
factors dropped by 2.2% YoY, and by 2.7 MoM while high-tech & other
Vulnerable Goods increased by +13.3% YoY.
Pharma & Temperature Controlled
Goods rose by +12.6% YoY ACD said whilst perishables & flowers were
up (+3.5% YoY), but fruits & vegetables suffered (-7.9%).
The Year 2019
“Results for the full year 2019
were not impressive: worldwide revenue, measured in USD, fell by 11.7%
compared to the top year 2018, whilst it did not grow compared to 2017
either, ”ACD declared.
“The main reason was a YoY yield
drop of 7.6%, as total weight fell by 4.4%.
“Although pharmaceuticals and
vulnerable goods (including High-Tech) both showed growth of around 8.5%
in volume, their yield drops – though not as steep as in general
cargo - were a cause for concern for the airlines.”
Europe Especially Germany Tanked
Europe took the hardest hit in 2019:
it lost more than 16% of its revenues (in USD) of the previous year, equal
to -12% in EUR, with Germany accounting for half of Europe’s woes.
However Africa and Latin America fared
better than the larger regions in the Northern hemisphere, ACD said.
Meantime in Asia Pacific and Europe
outbound was slightly better than inbound, the opposite was the case for
The Hong Kong Factor
“Many have attributed (part
of) the disappointing 2019-results for air cargo to the worsening USA
- China relationship, but trying to establish where the consequences of
the trade war were felt most, is not all that easy,”ACD noted.
“While China inbound dropped
by 6%, China outbound increased by 2.7%.
In total air exports increased by
2.8% to Europe, and dropped by only 0.3% to the USA.
“That certainly looks a whole
lot better than the worldwide drop of 4.4% YoY.
But it is not the whole story, as
one of China’s and the world’s great gateways, Hong Kong saw
air exports down -5.5%
The decrease in Hong Kong to Europe
and the USA was the worst (-10.8% and -14.4% respectively).
Hong Kong USA numbers were down -
5.3% YoY, and lost less than that in its air cargo business to China (-4.9%),
but more to Europe (-5.7%). And inbound USA stood at -4% YoY.
IATA Tiptoes Through Darkness Lightly
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and chief executive
put 2019 in blunt terms in that group’s yearly numbers recap last
“Trade tensions are at the root
of the worst year for air cargo since the end of the global financial
crisis in 2009.
“While these are easing, there
is little relief in that good news as we are in unknown territory with
respect to the eventual impact of the coronavirus on the global economy.
“With all the restrictions being
put in place, it will certainly be a drag on economic growth.
“And, for sure, 2020 will be
another challenging year for the air cargo business,” he said.