Very optimistic forecasts for global air cargo traffic come to us from a very significant forecast from the International Air Transport Association. IATA data are among the industry’s best indicators, and these four-year forecasts, released last week, indicate that the global air cargo recovery is well underway.
According to the analysis, there should be 4.1% annual growth through 2018, well above the last three years. As usual, there is a bit of caution in such a confident forecast and a reminder that economic stability can seriously alter such projections. The global economy remains in a state of equilibrium and is to some extent at the mercy of trade agreements and protections, oil prices, and international stability driven by geopolitical issues that remain volatile and tense in many regions.
Another significant factor is competition: there has been some loss of market share in the air cargo industry by container lines as shippers seek to save money on ocean freight. Of course, this is not as significant in the North American market where we operate, but still, the situation is changing, which once again proves the need for timely air cargo service for all cargo in order to maintain and strengthen the advantage our industry has.
According to IATA forecasts, the Middle East will see the fastest growth through 2018 (4.7%), while Iran (7%) and India (6.8%) will be the fastest growing national markets. Meanwhile, the North American domestic market is projected to grow 2.8% over the next four years, roughly in line with Europe. According to this long-term forecast, the U.S. will continue to lead the world, and total international freight traffic will reach approximately 10.1 million tons by 2018. According to the report, about 35% of the value of global trade will be shipped by air in 2014.
Air freight capacity and tonnage growth by region (data provided by IATA)
It’s also quite interesting to read the data above, which shows the increase by region in air cargo tonnage and capacity in every part of the world. You will note that cargo capacity in North America remains flat compared to other markets, which could change significantly over the next few years if the projected growth in volume over time materializes.