General air cargo volumes in January 2022 rose by just 0.1% compared with January 2021, said analyst CLIVE Data Services. Volumes were 0.2% up on pre-pandemic January 2019.
Cargo capacity in January 2022, compared to the first month of 2019, was down 4% but up 6% versus January 2021, while CLIVE’s ‘dynamic stood at 62%, 1% higher than in January 2019, but 6% below the opening month of 2021.
Airfreight rates remained high, compared to the pre-Covid level, up 156% in January 2022 versus January 2019, although this was the first time in six months that the gap with pre-pandemic rates declined month-over-month, following December’s 168% rise. Compared to January 2021, air cargo rates were up 41%.
Niall van de Wouw, formerly managing director of CLIVE and now chief airfreight officer at Xeneta following the latter’s recent takeover of his company, commented: “We see this as a respectful start to 2022 by an air cargo market still dealing with uncertainties caused by Covid, as sick-leave and quarantine rules continued to affect many industries and countries. We can see that the global air freight supply chain remains fragile, with airlines cancelling flights upfront because of the lack of crew. January has also reminded us that Covid isn’t the industry’s only concern. During the month, we saw other aviation disruptors, including 5G concerns in the US, extreme winter weather conditions impacting flight schedules, and Chinese New Year, which began two weeks earlier than in 2021. Measured against all these factors, January’s performance shows there is still a good degree of resilience in the global air cargo market.”