Most executives and supply chain managers around the world were jumping for joy at the sight of a more buoyant 2011 holiday season which seemed to bolster market confidence. Air freight figures released by the International Air Transport Association point in another direction, however.
The IATA revealed global air cargo traffic results for November, which slipped 3.1 percent below last November’s levels. November’s figures for 2011 were still a 1.1 percent increase over October, but IATA numbers still show a 4 percent contraction in air freight traffic since January of 2011.
Regionally, markets in emerging economies like Latin America (up 3.3 percent) and the Middle East (up 4.7 percent) were contrasted by a sizable slip in Asia (down 7.2 percent). Hong Kong in particular has been struggling, as the air freight capital of the world saw air cargo volumes plummet 8.2 percent in October thanks in large part to supply chain disruptions caused by the Thailand floods.
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That’s particularly troubling because Asian markets currently hold the largest market share in the air freight industry, carrying 40.5 percent of the world’s air cargo.
North America (23.6 percent), Europe (22 percent), the Middle East (9.8 percent), Latin America (3 percent) and Africa (1.1 percent) still trail Asia by a wide margin.
Air freight traffic shrank mildly in more developed markets, with North America down 0.8 percent. Europe suffered a more sizable decrease in volume, falling 4.6 percent in the month of November.