Current situation & Outlook Global Air Freight 2021 - Part 2

Global air cargo shippers experienced all variants of rate developments in a stable environment. Improvements foreseen on all major trades.

Market leaders, Transporeon and Tim Consult, continue to provide reliable, transparent and up-to-the minute reports on the freight industry. Tim Consult recently surveyed 48 air cargo shippers to gather firsthand, accurate insights into the air freight industry. 

Last week we looked in detail at current and anticipated conditions for contract terms, tendering and mode shifts in the global air cargo industry. Here’s a closer look at the survey results on rate development in each of the major trade routes.

Question asked: What is your rate development assessment across the major trade routes?

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Results indicate strong alignment on assessments of current rates across major trade routes, as well as further synergy on the kinds of developments anticipated in the summer. About half of participants expect quite stable rates on all major trades. Nevertheless, participants opinion on the forecast is divers – with expectations for tough declines as well as significant increases. 

Question asked: What is your focused rate assessment for Central Europe to USA?

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49% of all survey participants experienced stable rate levels in the first quarter of 2021, while only a few benefited from significant rate declines. A significant number of shippers faced double-digit rate increases. The majority of shippers still anticipate significant rate increases by August however 25% are optimistic; betting on double-digit rate declines. Overall, shippers share the view that this year, transatlantic trade from Europe Central to the USA is challenging.


Question asked: What is your focused rate assessment for Asia to Central Europe?

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45% of shippers experienced stable rates since the beginning of the year, however a significant number of survey participants suffered double-digit rate increases. 46% expect rates to remain stable however a compelling amount of shippers expect further double-digit rate increases. In summary, expectations are more diverse for the Asia to Central Europe trade route, with survey results acknowledging the risk of further increases, meanwhile some shippers expect significant rate declines.


Question asked: What is your focused rate assessment for Asia to USA?

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Over half of all participants experienced stable rates since the start of 2021, however 34% faced significant rate increases of more than 10%. Shippers’ expectations were divided when asked to consider August rates compared to now. Around one-third expect rate declines between -10% to -29%. One-fourth estimates rate increases of more than 10%.

Overall, this varying buoyancy of rate stability corresponds to the market situation; airlines have had to make fleet adjustments due to the significant reduction in passenger demand because of coronavirus-related restrictions. Airlines’ financial situations have resulted in reduction of capacities, which has resulted in frequently impacted rates.

This is part two of two in our Global Air Cargo Survey series documenting market intelligence insights from the shipping industry. If you missed part one, find it here to read more about contract terms, tendering and mode shifts according to this recent survey from Tim Consult.

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