Air Cargo Demand Rises, Rates Soar As Shippers Prepare For Peak



Max Garland | Supply Chain Dive

Air cargo demand in October rose 3% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to Clive Data Services, as companies prepare for peak season and shift volume from ocean to air to combat supply chain disruptions.

The demand buildup to peak season is visible, but it’s “not yet as high as some stakeholders had feared (or hoped),” said Niall van de Wouw, Clive’s Managing Director, in a statement. Capacity grew 1% compared to September, indicating the final sprint to the end of the year hasn’t kicked off yet, van de Wouw added.

Market dynamics still favor air carriers. Rates in October remained well above pre-pandemic levels, increasing 155% from 2019, and capacity was down 13%, according to Clive.

Peak season is slated to spark another hectic stretch for air carriers, with shippers looking to expedite freight over congested U.S. ports to meet holiday deadlines. But some retailers already made arrangements to ensure their goods arrive on time, be it by chartering ships or simply shipping inventory earlier if they have the space for it.

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