Air Freight rates finally showed signs of improvement in September (see dashboard at end of article) and further increases have been recorded in the first week of October.
The latest figures from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) show that average rates – spot and contract – paid by forwarders from Hong Kong to Europe and North America increased last month for the second month in a row.
From Hong Kong to North America rates in September increased to $4.90 per kg from $4.85 per kg a month earlier, with improvements picking up as the month progressed.
From Hong Kong to Europe, prices improved to $3.72 per kg from $3.65 per kg in August.
Rate increases at this time of year aren’t too much of a surprise as the industry enters the busier peak season.
Perhaps more notably, the gap on last year’s performance continued to narrow last month.
In August rates from Hong Kong to North America were down 41.8% year on year but this narrowed to 38.3% in September – the first time since March that the difference has been below 40%.
In Europe, the difference narrowed to 38.9% in September from 42.4% in August, which is the first time since April the gap has been below 40%.
In recent weeks, market reports have suggested a rise in demand and a tightening of capacity. E-commerce demand out of Hong Kong had been particularly strong, the reports said.
Meanwhile, it appears rates are continuing to increase in October.
TAC Index, which provides the data for the BAI, said the overall Baltic Air Freight Index rose a further 4.1% in the week to October 2, taking the change over the last four weeks up to 11% and cutting the 12-month drop to 34.1%.
TAC said there was an impression of a genuine peak season bounce.