ACI: freight traffic regained some momentum in April

Airport trade association Airports Council International (ACI) World has reported global freight traffic regained some momentum in April as year-on-year (YOY) growth was 4.5 per cent following a slower month of March.

International freight was the main driver of both shifts, representing around 70 per cent of the global market. The segment’s YOY figure rose to 4.9 per cent during the month, up from 1.9 per cent in March while domestic freight was up 3.7 per cent in April.

On a rolling 12-month basis, global freight traffic is up 7.1 per cent with international traffic up eight per cent and domestic up 4.9 per cent and year-to-date traffic is up 5.4 per cent with international up 5.1 per cent and domestic up six per cent.

In April, Europe and Asia-Pacific both accelerated after suffering slowdowns in March for overall freight volumes. On a YOY basis, Europe posted 4.6 per cent growth, up from 0.9 per cent one month prior, while Asia-Pacific posted 4.2 per cent, up from one per cent.

In Europe, ACI said Belgium grew by 15.7 per cent but the Netherlands posted a 6.3 per cent decline. France, Luxembourg and Italy all posted negatives figures, down 2.9 per cent, 1.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively, on a YOY basis. Meanwhile, Spain grew by 18.4 per cent.

In Asia-Pacific, of its major air freight markets, ACI said all but Thailand (nine per cent) and South Korea (0.4 per cent) posted YOY figures between two per cent and six per cent.

India (5.7 per cent), Hong Kong (five per cent), China (4.9 per cent), and Singapore (4.5 per cent) all posted fairly strong growth. Taiwan and Japan, with 3.3 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively, trailed behind slightly.

ACI said North America has already started to experience more subdued growth in April as YOY volumes slowed down to 3.7 per cent in April but warned Geopolitical tensions related to trade have escalated into import tariffs between a number of major economies and the US, which may lead to a substantial slowdown in the coming months.

The Middle East’s freight market had, until March, proven relatively resilient to the geopolitical tensions but volumes declined by 2.1 per cent in March, but came back in April and were up 2.6 per cent, although ACI said there may be a gradual slowdown in the months ahead.

Latin America-Caribbean and Africa, the two smallest freight markets of the six ACI traffic regions, grew the fastest in April, at 12.5 per cent and 9.9 per cent respectively.

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens said: “International freight was the main driver of the bounce in volumes in April, following a slower month of March, with the market showing some resilience in the face of the growing risk of increased protectionism trade wars.

“Although the 12-month rolling average remained strong at 7.1%, it appears the high growth trend observed throughout most of 2017 is starting to subside.”