September proved to be an even more difficult month than August in terms of global cargo volumes, International Air Transport Association executives revealed. Falling 2.7 percent, year-over year, September freight traffic was especially weak in the Asia-Pacific region, with demand declining 6.3 percent from September 2010.
IATA officials attribute these numbers to the continued effects the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan are having on global supply chains. They’re quick to point out, however, that “robust economic growth” continues to characterize this region. Unfortunately, weak volumes out of North America and Europe have stalled demand for airfreight services.
Not surprisingly, European carriers also saw reduced cargo volumes in September, experiencing a year-over-year decline of 2.4 percent; cargo demand for their North American counterparts remained flat.
Either way, IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler acknowledged that September was a challenging month for cargo carriers worldwide. “Freight demand contracted for a fifth consecutive month, and this trend is in line with falling business and consumer confidence,” he said in a statement.
In fact, global cargo volumes were 5-percent lower than those transported at the end of the first quarter of 2011, an IATA spokeswoman stated. She blamed this figure on worsening trade and economic conditions worldwide.
And although passenger traffic remained strong in September — highlighted by a 5.6 percent, year-over-year, surge — trouble may be on the horizon. “We are still expecting a general weakening in passenger traffic as we head toward the year-end,” Tyler stated.
Cargo markets should soon see improvement. IATA officials expect the worldwide airfreight sector to grow 4.2 percent in 2012, although yield is expected to remain sluggish.