The month’s year-to-date was more than three percentage points lower than the same period in 2017, and monthly growth rates have been trending downward since January, ACI World said.
ACI World said the two main regional markets for air freight — Asia-Pacific for its international segment and North America for its domestic segment — may be headed toward slower growth given the ongoing trade war between their two largest economies, the United States and China.
“While ACI has found that passenger traffic has continued to grow at a robust rate, the threat of increased economic uncertainty continues to loom over the air transport industry,” said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World. “With the volatility around increased protectionism between major trading nations set to continue to the end of 2018, these barriers to free trade could stifle the flow of cargo even further.”
“June brought with it a significant slowdown, however,” ACI World said, with a 1.7 percent gain year-over-year, down from 8.6 percent in May, dragging the year-to-date figure to 5.7 percent growth.
Asia-Pacific’s air freight market has been showing signs of a slight slowdown through the first half of the year, ACI World said. June figures for the region reached 4.4 percent growth on a year-to-date basis, after growing 8.6 percent in 2017.
“Given the global context, the region is showing significant resilience to shocks,” ACI World said.
Asia-Pacific is the world’s largest international air freight market, representing close to 40 percent of total global volume.
“It should be noted that the region’s June 2017 year-to-date figures were particularly strong, exacerbating the relatively modest growth figures posted by the region during the period,” ACI World said.
The Middle East, home to several of the world’s largest international aviation hubs, experienced no gains in freight volumes for the first half of 2018. Year-over-year decline was 1.2 percent in June, down from May’s 0.9 percent drop.
“There is no question that the freight market is suffering from the current regional climate,” ACI World said.
Africa’s air freight volumes posted an increase of 11.4 percent on a year-to-date basis in June, with most of the region’s major contributors posting double-digit growth. Although the market remains the smallest in the six regions, it has been posting more robust growth figures in the last 12 months and is on track to end 2018 with a stronger growth trend than in 2017, during which it had grown 7.7 percent, ACI World said.