Global Airfreight Slows in First Half of Year

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

Global air cargo demand slowed in the first half of the year as trade activity fell, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Worldwide airfreight traffic grew 3.5% for the first half of 2015, after growing 5.8% during the same time last year.

U.S. volume declined 0.4% for the first six months of the year, from the same period last year.

“It has been a disappointing first half of 2015, especially considering the strong finish to 2014. The remainder of the year holds mixed signals. The general expectation is for an acceleration of economic growth, but business confidence and export orders look weak,” IATA CEO Tony Tyler said in a statement.

Airfreight volume increased only 1.2% in June compared to a year ago and declined 3.3% for North American airlines, the largest regional dip.

“The positive impact of a modal shift to air as a result of the West Coast ports strike has faded and economic performance, despite some improvements in the second quarter, is subdued,” IATA said about the North American air cargo decline.

Asia Pacific and Latin American carriers reported cargo declines and growth in Europe was flat. The only areas to report a rise in cargo volume was the Middle East and Africa, according to IATA.

IATA represents 260 airlines, including UPS Inc., which ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers, and FedEx Corp., which ranks No. 2.