The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose 6.9 per cent in January 2017 compared to the year-earlier period.
While this was down from the 10 per cent annual growth recorded in December 2016, it was well above the average annual growth rate of 3 per cent over the past five years, the IATA said in its statement.
Growth in freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), slowed to 3.5 per cent in January 2017.
The continued positive momentum in freight growth into 2017 coincides with a steady rise in new export orders, which reached their highest level in February (latest data available) since March 2011.
The timing of the Lunar New Year (in January 2017) also may have contributed to higher demand in January.
“It’s been a good start to the year for air cargo," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO. "Demand growth accelerated in January, bolstered by strengthening export orders. And that outpaced the capacity growth which should be positive for yields.
"The onus is now on the industry to seize the opportunity to accelerate the modernisation of processes to make air cargo an even more compelling option for shippers.”