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Airfreight rates up on 2017 levels in February

Airfreight rates on major transpacific, Asia-Europe and translatlantic routes continued to track ahead of 2017 levels in February, despite demand slackening off.

The latest figures from TAC Index show that February airfreight rates on services from Hong Kong to North America increased by 42.5% year on year to $3.62 per kg. This increase reflects demand statistics reported by Asian airlines in the first part of the year.

However, year on year comparisons can be affected over the first couple of months can be influenced by the timing of the Chinese New Year.

While prices are up on a year ago, they are down on January’s levels by 1.9%. This is to be expected as prices out of Asia tend to dip during after the Christmas period before flattening off in the summer and then increasing from September.

It was on a similar story on Hong Kong-Europe routes, where prices increased by 19.2% year on year to $2.54 per kg, but are down on January by 4.9%.

Forwarders have reported that prices on both trades picked up slightly after Chinese New Year but are expected to resume their normal seasonal pattern in March.

Manel Galindo, chief executive, Freightos WebCargo, said: “On Thursday, factories re-opened and flights resumed. For now, flights are mostly carrying pre-ordered shipments, as well as a few new express shipments.

“Express prices might go up over next week as the Chinese New Year close down backlog is cleared, but expect all prices to drop after March 5.”

Meanwhile, rate performance on transatlantic routes continued to strengthen in February as prices reached $3.06 per kg, up 15.9% year on year and 5.9% on January.

Prices on the route also strengthened between January and February last year, suggesting this is a seasonal trend.

Last year prices on the route continued to climb until April when they started dropping off as carriers added capacity to cover the tourist season.

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