The impact of coronavirus COVID-19 on air freight

UPs & DOWNs: About the weakest air freight year 2019 of the whole decade.


Facts about air freight

Short transport times, high punctuality and independency of natural influences are the absolute pros that speak for using the plane for freight. Nevertheless, the request for air freight is falling.

According to figures from the airline association Iata (link to lata), the demand for air freight transportation last year was at its lowest level since 2009, with global traffic falling by 3.3 percent compared to the previous year. 2019 is the first year with declining air freight volumes since 2012, and also with the weakest performance since the financial crisis in 2009.

This December, volumes declined by 2.7 percent while capacity in carriers’ cargo holds grew by 2.8 percent. The air freight market suffered particularly from the weak global economic growth of only 0.9 percent.


The Coronavirus

In 2020 air freight rates will rise because of the Coronavirus (recently named COVID-19). As a result of the unexpected corona virus epidemic, air freight rates have increased by up to six times the price level compared to the time before the outbreak of the lung disease.

The virus outbreak has already had a “big impact” on business. The rates for general cargo before the coronavirus crisis averaged around 1 EUR per kilo. Carriers currently charge up to 6 EUR per kilo. (Source: DVZ) Over 50 percent of the freight space formerly available is currently withdrawn from the market due to the cancellation of China connections by several carriers.

Shippers are desperately looking for freight space

According to CNN airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Finnair and Air Canada have suspended their flights to China until the End of February. Some airlines such as United Airlines, American Airlines, Japan Airlines suspended some flights even until the end of March.

Therefore, rates are currently rising sharply. Shippers are desperately looking for freight space and are prepared to pay the extremely increased prices for air freight shipments to China. Comparing rates has become ever more important.

Book your spot requests via the intelligent eProcurement solution SHIPSTA and find your best connections for your air freight.






SHIPSTA was founded by Christian Wilhelm (CEO), Stefan Maratzki (CTO) and Oliver Ritzmann (CCO) as CLEAR LOGISTICS in 2015. The innovative software company is based in Luxembourg, has a digital hub logistics branch in Hamburg, and has become one of the market leaders for eLogistics applications in Germany. The specific focus is on eProcurement – electronic transport market procurement. The eProcurement platform optimises procurement and tendering processes and digitally links shipping agents with freight forwarders. SHIPSTA’s clients include global companies from sectors including food, high tech, pharma and automotive.


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