Market Letters

Laufer Group International Airfreight Market Update – Week 10, 2021

Airfreight Costs Slide for 2nd Week in a Row:  Rates from China have dropped again as airlines begin to add freighter capacity into the market. Rates from China to West Coast are starting below $5.00/kg while Central and Eastern USA are under $5.50/kg. Rates from Hong Kong have dropped to $6.00 per kg or less.

Backlogs Continue for U.S. Exports: Heavy backlogs continue to plague air exports, especially to transatlantic destinations where freighter capacity is limited. For historically economic airline options, next available flight remains at 1-2 weeks out and many carriers are not accepting bookings unless under Priority Services. As air cargo volumes continue to outpace the return of passenger demand we expect this to be an ongoing nuisance. Luckily, the weather will be warming up and we should not have winter storms exacerbating the situation.

Volumes Hit Pre-Pandemic Levels: Air cargo volumes have now reached levels not seen since before the pandemic. January 2021 posted a 1.1% increase over the same month in 2019, with February not far behind. With half of airfreight capacity still on the ground, we expect a very difficult peak season this year if this trend continues.

However, the question remains as to whether this demand will sustain. Port congestion, lack of ocean equipment and vessel space, growing e-commerce demand, and continuing need for medical supplies are just some of the many contributing factors that can only be relied on for the short term.

For over 70 years, Laufer Group International Ltd. has been helping customers improve the way they handle their logistics. To see how we can help, or for any questions, contact Thomas Marano, National Director of Business Development, Air Freight or contact your local sales representative