(12 Jan 2022)
 
IATA has reported that growth in global air
cargo markets slowed in November 2021.

Supply chain disruptions and capacity constraints
impacted demand, despite economic conditions remaining favorable
for the sector.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres
(CTKs), was up 3.7% compared to November 2019 (4.2% for
international operations), significantly lower than the 8.2%
growth seen in October 2021 (9.2% for international operations)
and in previous months.

Capacity was 7.6% below November 2019 (-7.9% for
international operations), relatively unchanged from
October. Capacity remains constrained with bottlenecks at key
hubs.

CargoLogicAir Boeing 747-400ERF reg: G-CLBA Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

Economic conditions continue to support air cargo
growth, however supply chain disruptions are slowing growth.
Several factors should be noted:

– Labor shortages, partly due to employees being
in quarantine, insufficient storage space at some airports and
processing backlogs exacerbated by the year end rush created
supply chain disruptions. Several key airports, including New
York’s JFK, Los Angeles and Amsterdam Schiphol reported
congestion.

– Retail sales in the US and China remain strong.
In the US retail sales were 23.5% above November 2019 levels. And
in China online sales for Singles’ Day were 60.8% above their 2019
levels.

– Global goods trade rose 4.6% in October (latest
month of data), compared to pre-crisis levels, the best rate of
growth since June. Global industrial production was up 2.9% over
the same period.

– The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low. This
is positive for air cargo as manufacturers turn to air cargo to
rapidly meet demand.

– The recent surge in COVID19 cases in many
advanced economies has created strong demand for PPE shipments,
which are usually carried by air.

– The November global Supplier Delivery Time
Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was at 36.4. While values below 50
are normally favorable for air cargo, in current conditions it
points to delivery times lengthening because of supply
bottlenecks.

“Air cargo growth was halved in November compared
to October because of supply chain disruptions,” said Willie
Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “All economic indicators pointed
towards continued strong demand, but the pressures of labor
shortages and constraints across the logistics system unexpectedly
resulted in lost growth opportunities. Manufacturers, for example,
were unable to get vital goods to where they were needed,
including PPE. Governments must act quickly to relieve pressure on
global supply chains before it permanently dents the shape of the
economic recovery from COVID19.”

To relieve supply chain disruptions in the air
cargo industry, IATA has called on governments to:

– Ensure that air crew operations are not hindered
by COVID19 restrictions designed for air travelers;

– Implement the commitments governments made at
the ICAO High Level Conference on COVID19 to restore international
connectivity, including for passenger travel. This will ramp-up
vital cargo capacity with “belly” space;

– Provide innovative policy incentives to address
labor shortages where they exist; and

– Support the World Health Organization /
International Labour Organization Action Group being formed to
assure freedom of movement for international transport workers.

November 2021 Air Cargo – Regional Performance

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their international air
cargo volumes increase 5.2% in November 2021 compared to the same
month in 2019. This was only slightly below the previous month’s
5.9% expansion. International capacity in the region eased
slightly in November, down 9.5% compared to 2019.

North American carriers posted an 11.4% increase
in international cargo volumes in November 2021 compared to
November 2019. This was significantly below October’s performance
(20.3%). Supply chain congestion at several key US cargo hubs has
affected growth. International capacity was down 0.1% compared to
November 2019.

European carriers saw a 0.3% increase in
international cargo volumes in November 2021 compared to the same
month in 2019, but this was a significant drop in performance
compared to October 2021 (7.1%). European carriers have been
affected by supply chain congestion and localized capacity
constraints. International capacity was down 9.9% in November 2021
compared to pre-crisis levels and capacity on the key Europe-Asia
route was down 7.3% during the same period.

Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 3.4%
increase in international cargo volumes in November 2021, a
significant drop in performance compared to the previous month
(9.7%). This was due to a deterioration in traffic on several key
routes such as Middle East-Asia, and Middle East-North America.
International capacity was down 9.7% compared to November 2019, a
small decrease compared to the previous month (8.4%).

Latin American carriers reported a decline of
13.6% in international cargo volumes in November compared to the
2019 period. This was the weakest performance of all regions and a
significant deterioration from the previous month’s performance
(-5.6%). Capacity in November was down 20.1% on pre-crisis levels.

African airlines’ saw international cargo volumes
increase by 0.8% in November, a significant deterioration from the
previous month (9.8%). International capacity was 5.2% lower than
pre-crisis levels.


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