March 2021 air cargo outcomes
March 2021 was the most bilateral month in the memory of airfreight
- The cautious recovery in early 2021 was halted in the first half of March
- For the US Atlantic South, the US Midwest, Taiwan, Thailand, Belgium and Kenya, March 2021 was the best month since 2018
- In March, freighter capacity rose 7 percentage points less than cargo capacity in passenger aircraft
The final March air freight figures show global growth of 21% compared to the previous year. To understand this percentage, it is necessary to revise the detailed results for March 2020, the most two-sided month in the memory of air cargo.
The year-over-year change from March 1 to March 15, 2021 was -0.2%, but the year-over-year growth in the second half of the month was + 44%. This is a stark reminder that the first lockdown began to bite air cargo in mid-March 2020.
Since the cautious recovery in early 2021 (+ 1.1% yoy for the first two months) was halted in the first half of March (-0.2% yoy), the question arises whether the second half of the year reversed the trend again.
Industry experts first examined the volume development for the 30 largest markets. For six of them (the Origins USA Atlantic South, USA Midwest, Taiwan, Thailand, Belgium, and Kenya) March 2021 was simply the best month since January 2018.
The same applies to the target markets China East, South Korea, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands and the USA Midwest. Other top source countries, particularly China North East and Central, France, Great Britain, India and Australia have not yet recovered. Her month of March was more than 20% below her best month in the past three years. This also applies to the destinations Australia, Canada East, China Northeast, Spain, South Africa and the USA Northeast.
Globally, March 2021 was only slightly lower in 2018 and 2019 than in the same month. This is all the more remarkable when you consider the huge reduction in cargo capacity.