Air freight rates out of Asia continue to be somewhat volatile, dropping from $3.32 per kilo in February to $3.15 per kilo last month, according to the latest Drewry East-West Air Freight Price Index.
The March decline in rates comes after two months of steady increases. September was the last time the freight rate average hit $3.15, but if last summer is any indication of rates in 2013, pricing will continue to fall. In June and July of last year, rates came in at $3.12 per kilo and $2.99 per kilo, respectively. Pricing didn’t jump back up until October.
Drewry Sea & Air Shipper Insight.
Tonnage numbers at Hong Kong International Airport, the world’s top cargo airport, seem to be pointing to a recovery in their U.S. business, but growth is still moving slowly. The airport’s top handler, Hactl, just turned in numbers deemed “satisfactory” for the first quarter of the year, and the major cargo airline, Cathay, has continued to see depressed cargo results. The carrier’s March tonnage showed a 5.3-percent, year-over-year drop in activity, and February’s numbers showed a 12-percent drop.
The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines in February measured an 8.8-percent capacity decline by carriers operating in Asia. For the first two months of the year, capacity fell by 4.2 percent. The association’s findings mirrored data collected by the International Air Transport Association in February, which found the Chinese New Year took a big chunk out of freight activity, but that some turnaround could be seen in the near future.
Air cargo insiders in the United States don’t see much increased activity out of Asia anytime soon, with forwarders predicting modest growth driven by a recovery in the U.S. economy. If the domestic economy keeps limping along, that will be reflected in Asian activity. - Jon Ross