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The air cargo market is building up pricing momentum towards the fourth quarter, putting all-cargo carriers and airlines with cargo-only passenger freighters in a strong position relative to shippers.

Freight rates have climbed since early July with the slow return of international passenger capacity combined with consistent growth in cargo shipments as the global economy, notably in China, continues to recover from coronavirus.

Export demand to the U.S. is very high, as is traffic from Shanghai and Singapore to Europe, according to freight data aggregators and logistics companies. Overall, rates from Asia to North America and Erurope are rising.

Rates from China to the U.S. tapered off a week ago, but are still about 85% higher than the same period in 2019. Shipping from Hong Kong to the U.S. is 75% more expensive than a year ago, according the The Air Freight Index Co. On the transatlantic lane, rates are down from their spring peak, but remain 150% above last year’s level outbound to the U.S. and 80% more for U.S. to Europe.

Drivers of airfreight demand are growing e-commerce sales from people avoiding retail stores during the coronavirus pandemic and elevated need for medical supplies as the virus rapidly spreads across large areas of the U.S. Many cargo-oriented airports in secondary metro areas are experiencing strong cargo growth.

Source: Freightwaves