Air Cargo Rates Soar: India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka Witness Surge Driven by Apparel Demand

India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka witness substantial spikes in air cargo rates, surging by +81%, +40%, and +55%, respectively, fueled by robust demand for apparel, Xeneta’s market analysis revealed.

It suggests expectations of downward pressure on Europe-North America air cargo rates with the launch of summer schedules in March. 

Globally, air cargo sees a positive start in 2024, with February marking double-digit demand growth (+11% YoY) and a +2% increase in average spot rates to $2.29 per kg.

 The unexpected rate uptick is attributed to factors like the Red Sea disruption and a surge in e-commerce demand, challenging traditional pre-pandemic trends. 

The global air cargo traffic in February rises by +10%, pushing the dynamic load factor to 60%, while air cargo capacity remains steady. 

The ongoing Red Sea conflict boosts air cargo demand, impacting ocean container shipping and prompting modal shifts. 

South Asia to Europe leads month-over-month growth in spot rates, rising +34% to USD 2.15 per kg. China to Europe rates increase +11%, but Lunar New Year holidays cause a -9% dip in the week ending March 3. 

The China to US spot rate rises +15% in February, signaling sustained demand from cross-border e-commerce. Shippers consider alternative hubs to navigate e-commerce-driven capacity constraints. 

Europe to US air cargo spot rates grow +5% in February. Industry stakeholders anticipate market trends as airlines prepare for summer schedules, impacting transatlantic air cargo with a potential +50% capacity increase.

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