MIAMI – According to the IATA news release issued on August 31, cargo demand has continued to grow during the month of July showing that the upward trend is maintaining its pace.

All comparisons are made with figures recorded in July 2019 as 2020 results were distorted by the Covid-19 crisis. Global demand measured in cargo ton-kilometer (CTK) showed a growth of 8.6% compared to the same month of 2019, a strong result when compared to the overall long-term average of approximately 4.7%.

During July growth continued with a slightly slower pace when compared to the 9.2% demand increase registered in June 2021, capacity recovery continues but is still showing a minus 10.3%, when compared to the similar period of 2019, because of missing belly space on passengers flights not being operated.

Air cargo growth continues to gain support from the ongoing economic conditions, with the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) standing at 52.7%, which indicates a short-term boost in cargo space demand if these goods are to be shipped by air. The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low ahead of the peak year-end season.

But the comment from the IATA Director-General Willie Walsh, while indicating the solidity of the July results, contains a warning on the Covid Delta variant: “July was another solid month for global air cargo demand. Economic conditions indicate that the strong growth trend will continue into the peak year-end demand period. The Delta variant of COVID-19 could bring some risks. If supply chains and production lines are disrupted, there is potential for a knock-on effect for air cargo shipments.”

JULY 2021
% VS JULY 2019
Total Market100%8.6%-10.3%9.5%54.4%
Asia Pacific32.6%1.2%-19.8%13.6%65.4%
Latin America2.4%-9.8%-17.7%3.4%38.7%
Middle East13.0%11.3%-6.1%8.4%53.6%
North America27.8%21.2%1.8%7.1%44.3%
(1) % of industry CTKs in 2020   (2) Change in load factor vs same month in 2019    (3) Load factor level
Amazon Prime Air Boeing 767-300BDSF N397AZ. Photo: Mateo Skinner/Airways

July Regional Performance

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo increase 4.4% in July 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, and an improvement compared to the previous month’s 3.9% expansion. Demand is being affected by an easing of momentum in key activity indicators in Asia, and by congested supply chains.

North American carriers posted a 20.5% increase in international demand in July 2021 compared to July 2019. This was in line with June’s performance (19.8%) and the strongest of all regions. New export orders and demand for faster shipping times are underpinning North American performance.

European carriers posted a 6.0% increase in demand in July 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. This was a marginal decrease compared to the previous month (6.8%). Manufacturing activity, orders, and supplier delivery times are still favorable to air cargo.

Middle Eastern carriers posted an 11.3% rise in international cargo volumes in July 2021 versus July 2019. This was a decrease compared to the previous month (15.8%). Some routes, however, are still posting strong performance, for example on the large Middle East–Asia trade lanes.

Latin American carriers reported a decline of 10.2% in international cargo volumes in July compared to the 2019 period, an improvement from the -21.5% fall recorded in June. Although Latin America continues to show the weakest regional performance, the comparison with pre-crisis traffic levels has been highly volatile in recent months. Several trade routes to/from Latin America are performing well, such as North-Central and North-South America and Europe-South America, confirming that demand for air cargo in the region is recovering from the crisis.

African airlines’ cargo demand statistics were unavailable at the time of going to press. This will be summarized next month.

Article source: IATA Press Release

Featured image: Atlas Air Boeing 747-8F N859GT – Photo: Luca Flores/Airways