End of May dip in cargo volumes cause for concern, says Clive Data Services

Clive: air cargo volumes

In its latest analysis, Clive Data Services has revealed a fall in demand over the last two weeks of May 2020.

The analyst believes that this may indicate “more challenging times ahead as airlines return capacity to the market”.

After a -37 per cent decline in volumes year-on-year in April, the corresponding figure for May of -31 per cent shows a slight upward curve and, measured alongside a capacity decline of -42 per cent versus last year, the pressure on capacity remained high, reported Clive.

Consequently, Clive’s ‘dynamic loadfactor’, based on both the volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available, increased month-on-month from 67 per cent to 69 per cent.

However, March ended far worse than it started, while for April it was the other way around and looking at the most recent weeks, it is clear that May also ended weaker than it started.

After a series of week-over-week growth in volumes, a decline set in during the week of 18-24 May, followed by an even stronger decline for the last week of May.

During these last two weeks, the capacity growth rate versus the previous week was higher than the volume growth, thereby reducing the dynamic loadfactor for the first time in weeks by 0.5 per cent.

This easing of pressure on capacity had a downward impact on freight rates on major tradelanes, as recently reported by the TAC Index.

Clive managing director, Niall van de Wouw, commented: “Looking at the last 12 weeks, it is clear to see that market volumes remain erratic and that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

“This is one of the few certainties we have at the moment. We can see some dark clouds gathering and this is a cause of concern for air cargo.

“This is why, in navigating these uncertain times, weekly data becomes not only relevant to decision-making, but crucial. Knowing what is happening each week gives the industry the clearest direction.

“We do not see signals yet that the increase in capacity is being met by growth in demand. With the announcements of increases in passenger schedules, global air cargo revenues may suffer ‘collateral damage’ of more capacity returning to the market.”

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