Supply chain disruptions caused overall air cargo growth to halve in November 2021.
According to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global air cargo demand (measured in cargo tonne-kilometres) rose 3.7 per cent in November compared to 2019 levels – “significantly lower” than the 8.2 per cent growth seen in October 2021.
Capacity remained 7.6 per cent below November 2019, relatively unchanged from October, with bottlenecks at key hubs causing capacity constraints.
“All economic indicators pointed towards continued strong demand, but the pressures of labour shortages and constraints across the logistics system unexpectedly resulted in lost growth opportunities,” said IATA’s director general Willie Walsh.
“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 Covid-19.”
In a statement, IATA outlined labour shortages, inventory-to-sales ratio remaining low, retail sales in the US and China remaining strong, and surges in Covid-19 cases as factors contributing to the figures.
To relieve supply chain disruptions, IATA said that is calling on governments to: “Ensure that air crew operations are not hindered by COVID-19 restrictions designed for air travellers; Implement the commitments governments made at the ICAO High Level Conference on COVID-19 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.