Shippers pull back from air cargo as ocean reliability improves

AIR cargo volumes continue on a downward trend as shippers shift back to ocean transport, reports Washington, DC's Supply Chain Dive.


Air cargo volumes fell nine per cent year on year in July. Air freight rates have also dropped but remain elevated versus pre-Covid crisis levels.


January rates were up 156 per cent versus 2019, while July rates were 121 per cent higher than in 2019.


"There are many dark clouds hanging over the air cargo industry given the state of the world right now," said Xeneta chief air freight officer Niall van de Wouw.


"From a rates point of view, indicators suggest the market has yet to bottom out."


The dark clouds contributing to air cargo's slide in demand include the ongoing war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, and staffing shortfalls for airlines and airports.


Shippers are also moving volume away from the transport mode as ocean freight congestion eases on some lanes.


Said Robinson CEO Bob Biesterfeld: "Much of our air freight volume is driven by ocean conversions. We'd expect a bit of slowing there as well through the balance of the year."


Air freight volumes also fell in Q2 for DHL Global Forwarding, "in part due to modal shifts back towards ocean freight products, as customers recognized the again improved schedule reliability in ocean freight", according to a news release.


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Shippers pull back from air cargo as ocean reliability improves
Shippers pull back from air cargo as ocean reliability improves