AIR freight market demand globally rose by 2.9 per cent in February year on year, although a rise in inventory-to-sales ratios contributed to the growth rate falling from the 4.3 per cent recorded in January.
According to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the first two months of 2014 have seen an overall 3.6 per cent improvement in demand over the previous year.
IATA said the "fundamental drivers" of air freight remained "broadly positive," suggesting that the lower growth in February was likely due to temporary factors leading to volatility in volumes.
IATA's freight model indicated that world trade growth contributed two percentage points to the 2.9 per cent increase in flown tonne kilometres (FTKs), while a slight rise in inventory-to-sales ratios had a 1.2 percentage point dampening effect.
"There are, however, some serious trends which are not in the industry's favour. Companies continue to on-shore their manufacturing supply chains. The world's top 20 economies implemented some 23 per cent more protectionist measures last year than in 2009," said IATA chief Tony Tyler, former CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways.
"These factors are a major part of the reason why we are not seeing trade growth of five to six per cent, which we would expect to see at the current level of domestic production.
"Currently trade and domestic production growth is running at about the same level. The World Trade Organisation's agreement in Bali late last year gives hope for invigorated world trade. It's important that governments keep their commitments," Mr Tyler said.
While the outlook for air freight remains "broadly positive, consistent with the cyclical pick-up in global economic growth," Mr Tyler said the current growth in world trade was slower than expected at this point in the economic cycle, largely due to on-shoring.
Source : HKSG.