Air cargo rates from China set for Q4 takeoff –

Almost half of the world’s widebody passenger fleet remains grounded as travel restrictions put the brakes on international travel and severely limit available cargo capacity at the same time. Photo credit:

Air freight rates out of China softened this week, but with half the available international air cargo capacity still grounded in the bellies of passenger planes, forwarders and analysts are predicting space constraints will persist through the fourth quarter as demand rises.

The average spot rate from Shanghai to Europe as of Aug. 24 declined 6 percent compared to a week prior to $3.25 per kilogram, according to the TAC Index, but that is still 18 percent higher than the same point last year. On the trans-Pacific trade, the rate from Shanghai to North America slid 10 percent compared to $4.52/kg, but was up 20 percent year over year.

On the trans-Atlantic trade lane, however, the average rate is heading in the other direction. Frankfurt–North America rates increased 7 percent sequentially to $4.10/kg, and are now up 40 percent year over year and edging closer to the record high of $4.23/kg reached Jun. 29.

Colin Dunne, national air freight manager at global forwarder C.H. Robinson, said the capacity constraints on the trans-Pacific would be tightened