Transportation & Logistics Analysis

Air freight continues to benefit from a following wind

April 21 2021

Demand for air freight increased again in February. Cargo volumes returned to pre-Covid levels, helped by the continuing disorganisation of supply chains. Freight rates stayed at high levels.

The recovery is continuing in the air freight industry. Cargo volumes in February increased 9% over those for February 2019, which the International Air Transport Association took as its reference year in its latest monthly market analysis. Month-on-month, volumes were also up 1.5% and "returned to levels last seen in 2018 before air cargo business started to be adversely impacted by the start of the US-China trade war," IATA said.

The economic indicators suggest that this growth trend is going to continue. The world economy is in a recovery phase. And the sector is also well positioned to benefit from the disorganisation of supply chains resulting from the disruption of container shipping and sometimes from production problems. The shortage of semi-conductors, for example, is penalising many industries.

This situation is clearly having a favourable impact on transport prices. Although there was a certain slowdown in February as compared to January in our Upply data base, rates are still well up on those of the preceding year, particularly on Asia-Europe and Europe-North America routes.

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Graduated from the Lille school of Journalism, Anne has worked for 25 years for trade & logistics magazines and websites, before joining Upply.