Africa is leading in the global air freight demand, as the region has recorded a boost in cargo movement.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released March 2017 demand growth results for global air freight markets showing a 14 percent expansion measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) compared with the same period last year. This was the fastest pace of growth recorded since October 2010. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 4.2 percent year-on-year in March 2017.
According to IATA, Africa posted the largest year-on-year increase in demand of all regions in March 2017 with freight volumes growing 33.5 percent.
The body said that capacity increased by 6.3 percent over the same time and demand has been boosted by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia following an increase in direct services between the continents, adding that the increase in demand has helped the regionâ€™s load factor rise by six percentage points compared to March 2016.
March performance contributed to very strong first quarter (Q1) growth in freight volumes. After adjusting for the impact of the leap year in 2016, freight demand in Q1 2017 increased by nearly 11 percent. Capacity increased by 3.7 percent over the same period (leap year adjusted).
The strengthening of air freight demand in March is consistent with an uptick in world trade and a six-year high in new export orders. An increase in the shipment of silicon materials typically used in high-value consumer electronics shipped by air, is also likely underpinning a portion of the strong performance.
“March capped a robust first quarter with the strongest year-on-year air freight growth in six-and-a-half years. Optimism is returning to the industry as the business stabilises after many years in the doldrums. There is, however, still much lost ground to recover while facing the dual headwinds of rising fuel and labor costs. It remains critical to use the improvement in the industryâ€™s fortunes as an opportunity to enhance the value offering by implementing modern customer-centric initiatives that streamline processes and reduce costs,” said IATAâ€™s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.