According to the latest statistics from Airports Council International (ACI) World, global air freight volumes grew 1.4 per cent for the month of March, although the first quarter saw an overall increase of 4.7 per cent year over year.
The slowed growth in March comes after the upsurge in February due to the Lunar New Year and the modal shift towards air transport resulting from congestion at sea ports along the western coast of the United States.
Growth rates across the globe were mixed for the month of March. Although North America has maintained a solid growth rate of 5.7 per cent year over year in March, results were mixed at the sub-regional level. Memphis (MEM) and Louisville (SDF), two of North America’s largest air freight hubs, were in decline by 2 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively, while West coast and Midwest airports posted solid gains. Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Anchorage (ANC) had huge jumps of 32.9 per cent, 14.5 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively for the month of March.
Both Asia-Pacific and Europe saw a decline of 1.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively. Hong Kong (HKG), the world’s largest air freight hub, declined by 8.2 per cent in March.
ACI World economics director Rafael Echevarne commented: “The first quarter was largely distorted by external shocks which affected demand. In spite of these distortions, we still witness overall solid growth in both passenger and air freight traffic over the period. After removing all of the noise, we have yet to see the impact that the global business cycle will have on air transport demand. There are two forces at play that are working in opposite directions. On the one hand, we see improved economic conditions in the US. On the other hand, with a Chinese slowdown and the continued uncertainty in Europe, the net effect on air transport remains to be seen.”