Date: 29.04.2021

Air freight market still climbing

The global air freight market is accelerating rapidly, with massive rate increases impacting many trade lanes, with Asia & Europe to the US particularly affected.

Volumes out of China have been increasing weekly, with higher yields to the US attracting carriers to the routes and reducing desperately needed capacity on other lanes, including Asia Westbound and trans-Atlantic, driving up rates on those routes.

Demand has increased markedly with the relaxation of lockdowns in some countries and big increases in hi-tech volumes, with Apple triggering a surge two weeks ago, with exports from all of its vendors, in readiness for October’s planned iPhone 12 launch.

Pandemic-related cargo remains high-profile, with rapid Covid test kits evident across Hong Kong and China mainland gateways and airport terminals full of trucks waiting to drop off more kits for export globally. This is being further magnified with the Chinese Labour Day holidays starting this weekend.

Our partners in Singapore confirm that China’s main airports, along with those in Vietnam and Thailand are all facing high demand with very limited supply and rates to Europe and the US remain at a relatively high level, with pre-booking essential to secure space.

Air freight is effectively busy in all directions, with demand also driving charter rates up again, in particular to the US from both Europe and Asia, with lead times averaging 10 days to secure an aircraft.

For the UK, big volumes of eCommerce cargo are filling multiple charters and fixed schedule flights from inland Chinese cities to London Heathrow which, after Brexit, must be arranged separately from EU destined cargo due to new Customs protocols.

Courier and express operators are also suffering parcel delays, including the world’s largest cargo integrators, with despatches a week slower than normal and average prices up almost a third.

In summary, our Chinese partners are hopeful of some improvement in the current air market over the next a couple of weeks. Meanwhile space is full and further rate increases are anticipated around the 1st May Labour Day holiday, which at least means carriers are not cancelling flights, as they would normally over the holiday period. 

Metro work closely with the world’s leading passenger airlines, cargo airlines, ‘preighter’ carriers and key hub partners to offer the widest range of time-sensitive solutions, routes and transit times, at the most competitive rates available in the current market.

If you have urgent or time sensitive consignments and would like to explore options, transits and costs, please contact Elliot Carlile or Grant Liddell for all options available to ensure that deadlines are always met.