Three quarters of cargo owners surveyed expect Asia-Europe air cargo prices to remain at their recent elevated levels or rise even further, Transporeon reports, with a similar expectation on transpacific and transatlantic lanes.
While there appears to be little unanimity among air cargo shippers as to the outlook on rates, a majority expect prices to either remain relatively stable at their recent and current high level or increase by varying degrees in the months to come, according to a survey by Tim Consult.
The research arm of German cloud-based logistics software provider Transporeon sounded out the views of almost 50 firms ranging from SMEs to multi-nationals, based mainly in Asia, Europe and North America.
For example, on the Asia-Europe route, 46% of the sample anticipate that prices will be stable in August when compared to end-March levels – stability being defined as upward and downward movements not exceeding 10%. A further 18% are braced for double-digit hikes of between 10% and 29%, and 8% project increases of 30-50% – meaning more three quarters expect prices to remain high or rise further.
By contrast, just 22% of shippers expect a decline in prices ranging from 10% to almost 30%, with 3% pointing to decreases of more than 50%.
Roughly half of shippers said they had experienced double-digit increases in rates since the beginning of the year, with 30% of survey participants indicating that these had ranged between 10% and 30%. One in ten respondents had seen price rises of 30-50% this year, and for another 10% of respondents, rates had risen by more than half.
Tim Consult said these expectations for the Asia to Europe trade route were “more diverse” than on other trade lanes, with the survey highlighting both “the risk of further increases” and the prospect of “significant rate declines”.
On the Europe-US trade lane, 41% of respondents expect rates to be stable this summer with more than 25% optimistic of decreases of between 10% and 29%. However, almost 20% of shippers project price increases of 10-29% and 7-8% expect hikes of 30-50%.
Nearly half (49%) of survey participants experienced stable rate levels on the Europe-US lane in the first quarter of 2021, while only a few benefited from significant rate declines, the survey found.
“Overall, shippers share the view that this year, transatlantic trade from Europe to the US is challenging,” Tim Consult commented.
Asia to US division
On the transpacific lane, shippers were also divided in their opinions when asked to forecast rates this August compared to current levels, Tim Consult observed. While 40% anticipate price stability this summer, close to one-third are expecting rates to decline by between 10% and 29%. However, around 23% expressed the opposite view, indicating rate hikes within the same range.
Summing up, Tim Consult said: “Over all, this varying buoyancy of rate stability corresponds to the market situation: airlines have had to make fleet adjustments due to the significant reduction in passenger demand because of coronavirus-related restrictions. Airlines’ financial situations have resulted in reduction of capacity, which has resulted in frequently impacted rates.”