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Air cargo between Middle East and Europe up by 30%

Emirates SkyCargo reported carrying 2.2m tonnes of cargo, an 18% year-on-year increase Emirates SkyCargo
Emirates SkyCargo reported carrying 2.2m tonnes of cargo, an 18 percent year-on-year increase
  • Air cargo demand rose 9% in April
  • Some traders avoiding sea transport
  • Fifth month of double-digit growth

Middle Eastern carriers reported a year-on-year increase in demand for air cargo of more than 9 percent in April, industry figures said. 

Air cargo between the region and Europe experienced the strongest rise with a 30 percent lift on the same time last year.

Asia grew by over 10 percent, according to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Global demand was up 11 percent, the fifth consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year growth. 

“While many economic uncertainties remain, it appears that the roots of air cargo’s strong performance are deepening,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Dubai’s Emirates SkyCargo reported in May that it carried 2.2 million tonnes of goods around the world in 2023-24, an increase of 18 percent year on year.

The carrier’s cargo division reported revenue of AED13.6 billion ($ 3.7 billion) last year, accounting for 11 percent of Emirates airline’s total revenue.

The surge in air cargo demand in the region comes as traders look for alternatives to shipping. 

Since mid-November Yemen’s Ansar Allah group, widely referred to as Houthis, have attacked alleged Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea in response to the Gaza conflict.

According to data from the International Monetary Fund’s Port Watch, the number of cargo ships traversing the canal in the first four months of 2024 was around half that recorded in the same period in 2023, dropping from an average of 47 ships a day to 24.

Danish shipping major Maersk said earlier this month it expects the Red Sea disruption to lead to a 15 to 20 percent industry-wide capacity loss on the Asia to North Europe and Mediterranean routes in the second quarter of 2024.

Egyptian finance minister Mohamed Maait forecast that Suez Canal revenues may decrease by up to 60 percent due to tensions in the Red Sea.

The World Trade Organization was more optimistic in its annual report in April, predicting that Middle East goods export volumes, which include oil and gas, will expand 3.5 percent this year, adding that disruptions to Red Sea maritime trade are proving less severe than first feared.

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