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Ex-Asia air cargo volumes continue boom

Mike King | 2017-12-19 13:37:05.0 Strong demand in Europe and the US and surging e-commerce shipments boost exports from Asia The latest figures from Asia’s leading air cargo hubs confirm the extent of the fourth quarter boom in demand that has seen freight rates soa[1]r.

Singapore’s Changi Airport saw a 10.7% year-on-year rise in cargo throughput last month as the South East Asian hub handled 191,680 tonnes. Changi, which until 2016 had suffered almost a decade of negligent growth, is now certain to set a new freight throughput record this year – the hub handled 1.94m tonnes of cargo in the first 11 months of this year, only slightly behind the record 1.97m tonnes handled in 2016 with a month still to go. Hong Kong International Airport, the world’s largest international freight airport by volume, has also made bold gains.

Over the first 11 months of 2017, cargo throughput at HKIA was up 9.6% compared to the same period in 2016 to a total 4.48 million tonnes. Volumes in November increased 6.9% year-on-year to 466,000 tonnes driven by transhipment and export traffic. “Compared to the same month last year, transhipments registered 10% year-on-year growth, and exports recorded an 8% increase,” said an airport statement. “Amongst the key trading regions, traffic to/from North America, India and Europe increased most significantly.” Hong Kong’s home carrier Cathay Pacific also recorded a buoyant November.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 187,545 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, an increase of 12% year-on-year. The carriers’ cargo and mail load factor rose by 3.5 percentage points to 71.6% while capacity was up 5.9%. In the first eleven months of 2017, Cathay has enjoyed a tonnage surge of 11%, year-on-year, against a 3.4% increase in capacity.

Cathay Pacific Director Commercial and Cargo Ronald Lam said the carrier’s November performance reflected the overall strength in the world’s air cargo markets. “E-commerce related movements were boosted by events such as Chinese Singles’ Day, which helped to even out the traditional dip in demand following the Thanksgiving holiday, and we saw high load factors and improving yields,” he noted.

“We broke our weekly tonnage uplift record in the week starting 26 November, while a number of key markets across our network also established new revenue records during the month.

“The outlook remains positive and is expected to carry through until Christmas.”


  1. ^ fourth quarter boom in demand that has seen freight rates soa (www.lloydsloadinglist.com)

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