The airfreight market will see spikes of demand in Q4, but the “wildfire” rate increases experienced during “PPE season” are unlikely.
Online sales are expected to drive airfreight demand more than B2B during the final quarter. Additionally, some exporters think inventory levels are low in the US and Europe due to buyers not ordering products because of lockdowns and financial difficulties. However, demand will come in October and November when there will be spikes, which will drive rates very high for a short period.
Demand is rising in south China from small e-commerce sellers, although a greater percentage of non-electronic cargo is expected to flow through airports in north and east China, rather than Hong Kong, due to an increasing number of freighters deployed there. Capacity keeps getting added in second- and third-tier cities through local government subsidies, such as in Qingdao, Hefei, and Nanchang.
While freight rate increases are expected, they could be tempered, compared with the monster rates seen for PPE shipments between April and June due to some advance block bookings by large forwarders.
Source: The Loadstar