According to data published by UK-based shipping consultancy Drewry, air freight rates on major east-west routes were up slightly in July from their three-year low point established in June, although still down 12% on a year-over year basis.
Drewry’s air freight price index is a weighted average of all-in air freight “buy rates” paid by forwarders to airlines for standard deferred airport-to-airport air freight services on 21 major East-West routes for cargoes above 1,000 kg.
Drewry said the index recovered 2.0 points in July to a reading of 90.3, lifting it off its lowest ever level since the index was first launched in May 2012, but this still left average rates below US$3.00 per kilo.
As we always do in any discussion of air freight rates, we point out that one has to remember that if fuel surcharges (a pass-though cost, but part of all-in rates) are falling rapidly, then per-kilo rates will fall along with them. Likewise, if the US dollar is appreciating, then air freight paid for in other currencies will seem cheaper when converted to dollars.
Drewry said it believed the July recovery represented “a minor market correction to record low freight rates” and that it expected rates to remain weak over the coming months as strong passenger demand drives up capacity at a time when air freight demand is stagnant.