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Air freight on all major trade routes off to a flying start in 2018


AIR FREIGHT rates in January on major transpacific, transatlantic and Asia-Europe routes were all higher compared to the same month last year, yet there are signs of rate volatility in line with seasonal demand trends.

On services from Hong Kong to North America, freight rates in January were up 13.9 per cent year on year to stand at US$3.69 per kilogramme, while rates for Hong Kong-Europe services were up 8.5 per cent to to $2.67 per kg, according to Tac Index data.

On the Frankfurt-North America route freight rates in January rose 13.3 per cent year on year to $2.89 per kg. On the transpacific and Asia-Europe routes rates were up compared to January 2017, but were lower compared with last December's levels, reported London's Air Cargo News.

This is to be expected as demand tends to weaken following the Christmas rush before stabilising in the second quarter and then increasing through the third and fourth quarter.

However, there are spikes during these periods and forwarder Flexport has warned that it expects the Chinese New Year rush to have an impact.

"We're beginning to see increases in demand for cargo ex-China, with capacity equally constrained to both [Europe] and the US. We also expect space constraints out of Hong Kong and Vietnam," the forwarder said.

Freightos WebCargo chief executive Manel Galindo also anticipates prices to increase over the coming weeks.

At the end of January, he said: "Air freight rates fell unexpectedly last week, and China-US pricing is now close to $3-$5/kg - typical non-peak pricing.

"However, prices are volatile and will likely rise again shortly," Mr Galindo added.

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