Sharp growth in Middle East air freight

1 March 2016

Cargo volumes for global air freight markets grew by 11.3% in the Middle East in 2015, the only region to show significant growth last year, according to figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The total global freight market expanded by 2.2% last year, compared to 5% in 2014, IATA said. Modest growth was recorded for Africa’s (1.2%) and Asia-Pacific’s (2.3%) markets, but Europe and North America’s markets – which comprise 43% of total cargo traffic – were flat, and Latin America’s market contracted by 6% in 2015.

IATA said that Middle Eastern freight carriers enjoyed a strong year as a result of economic growth in local economies. While political instabilities and the fall in the oil price may have an impact on some financial systems in the region, “growth as a whole remains robust enough to support further expansion in 2016”.

The weaknesses in other markets reflect sluggish trade growth in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, the IATA said.

Director general and CEO of IATA, Tony Tyler, claimed that the combination of shortened global supply chains and competitive market conditions meant efficiency gains are critical in the air freight market.

“We have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion,” he added. “The industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernise processes and improve the value proposition. The faster the industry can make that happen, the better.”

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