Asia Pacific Air Cargo Demand and Rates Hit Record Highs

Air cargo demand and rates from Asia Pacific origins have continued to soar well above last year’s levels, with a notable spike in spot rates from Vietnam to Europe over the last two weeks. According to the latest weekly figures from WorldACD Market Data, which covers over 450,000 weekly transactions, overall tonnages and rates from Asia Pacific origins increased year on year (YoY) by +20% and +16%, respectively, in the last two weeks (weeks 22 and 23).

Taking a closer look at spot rates reveals substantial variations among the main Asia-Pacific origin countries, particularly in Europe. Shippers are experiencing significant shortages in both air and ocean freight capacity due to strong demand and disrupted sea freight services.

Disruptions to container shipping services, partly due to attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, have been exacerbated by port congestion and vessel capacity shortages in key markets. This has driven more cargo owners to opt for air cargo solutions.

Vietnam-to-Europe Spot Rates Soar

For several weeks, air cargo spot rates from Vietnam to Europe have been more than double their levels from last year, averaging $4.19 per kilo over the last seven weeks. Recent analysis by the World Bank shows that these rates have risen for six consecutive weeks, reaching $4.47 per kilo in week 23 (3 to 9 June), marking a +143% YoY increase, with tonnages up +28% YoY. Spot rates to Europe have also increased significantly YoY from other major Asia Pacific origins, including +32% from China and +18% from Hong Kong. Smaller markets in the region, such as Malaysia (+83%), Indonesia (+46%), and Thailand (+43%), also saw substantial increases in week 23.

When it comes to transpacific market demand and rates, they remain highly elevated compared to last year, with average spot rates to the USA from Asia Pacific and China origins standing at $5.23 (+51% YoY) and $5.30 per kilo (+38% YoY), respectively, in week 23.

Middle East and South Asia Boom

Elsewhere, demand and rates from Middle East and South Asia (MESA) origins have surged, especially in Europe. Spot rates from MESA to Europe have averaged more than twice their level from last year for the past ten weeks, driven by high spot prices from India and Bangladesh. Overall, average rates from MESA to destinations worldwide were up +50% YoY in weeks 22 and 23, maintaining average worldwide rates at $2.52 per kilo despite YoY falls in average prices from Europe (-16%) and North America (-11%).

Total worldwide chargeable weight flown in weeks 22 and 23 slightly decreased (-1%) compared to the previous two weeks, but worldwide tonnages were up +12% YoY.

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