BOTH air and ocean freight volumes fell by 2.2 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the Stifel Transportation & Logistics Group.
In the air freight division, gross profit per ton was mixed among the public forwarders, averaging a 0.3 per cent increase from the fourth quarter of 2014.
Most forwarders reported year-on-year gains. DHL, DSV and Kuehne + Nagel posted increases, while Expeditors International and Panalpina experienced declines, reported American Shipper.
But profit per TEU in ocean freight was strong across the board, averaging a seven per cent year-on-year increase during the quarter, resulting from lower buy rates, said Stifel.
Overall, ocean freight rates remain plagued by overcapacity. "We believe higher ocean freight rates would lead to an increase in forwarder profitability by providing an opportunity to improve gross profit per container," Stifel said.
"Air freight has also had its issues with overcapacity, because the international passenger traffic market has been growing significantly faster than the air cargo market, adding belly space capacity faster than demand."
In the fourth quarter, Kuehne + Nagel's air freight tonnage and ocean freight volumes rose 3.5 per cent and 3.3 per cent year on year, respectively.
DHL suffered an 11.8 per cent decline in air freight tonnage during the fourth quarter. Panalpina's air freight tonnage rose three per cent from the fourth quarter of 2014, but its ocean freight volumes dived 5.3 per cent year on year.
Looking ahead, Stifel anticipates very slow, low single-digit global trade growth in 2016, with a suppressed air freight market in the first quarter of 2016, resulting from high inventory levels and little need for rapid replenishment in the global supply chain. On the flip side, Stifel said ocean freight industry volumes may rise during the quarter.
Source : HKSG.