Africa is now the second major transporter of goods by air despite a notable decrease in global demand for air cargo.
Report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows data for global air freight markets demand as measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs)-decreased by 1.8 in January this year compared to the same period in 2018.
“This was the worst performance in the last three years,” it notes.
At the same time, freight capacity-measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs)-rose by four per cent year-on-year in January 2019.
It was the eleventh month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth and is attributed to a weakening global economy which has impacted negatively on consumer confidence.
“The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing and export orders has indicated falling global export orders since September 2018,” it notes.
Commenting on the development, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the contraction of global air cargo markets in January “is a worsening of a weakening trend that started in mid-2018.”
“Unless protectionist measures and trade tensions diminish there is little prospect of a quick rebound,” he added.
Even so, North America and Africa were the only regions that reported year-on-year demand growth in January 2019.
Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East all contracted, even as Latin America was flat.
“African carriers saw freight demand increase by 1 per cent in January 2019, compared to the same month in 2018,” reveals the report, adding that capacity grew by 8.2 year-on-year.
This comes as seasonal air cargo demand for Africa has trended upwards for six months.
“And while seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes are lower than their peak in mid-2017, they are still 35 per cent higher than their most recent trough in late-2015,” notes IATA.