The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), rose 8.0% in January 2018 compared to the year-earlier period. This was up from the 5.8% annual growth recorded in December 2017. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), rose by 4.2% year-on-year in January 2018.
IATA said the continued positive momentum in freight growth into 2018 reflects the fact that demand drivers for air cargo remain supportive. It noted that global demand for manufacturing exports is buoyant and that meeting this strong demand is leading to longer supply chain delivery times. Demand for air cargo may strengthen as a result, with companies seeking faster delivery times to make up for longer production times.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented: “With 8% growth in January, it’s been a solid start to 2018 for air cargo. That follows an exceptional year in which demand grew by 9%. We expect demand for air cargo to taper to a more normal 4.5% growth rate for 2018. But there are potential headwinds. If President Trump follows through on his promise to impose sanctions on aluminium and steel imports, there is a very real risk of a trade war. Nobody wins when protectionist measures escalate.”