FRA Cargo Climate Index September 2020


(Compared to previous week: →)

Actual Traffic Figures

August 2020

September 2020 Δ % y-t-y
Cargo (Freight & Mail in t) 160,937  165,967 (↗) - 5,0%
Passengers 1,511,256 1,148,130 (↘) - 82,9%
Aircraft Movements 17,695 16,940 (↘) - 63,7%

The positive trend in the development of freight volumes compared with the previous month continued at around +3% (↗). The difference to the same month of the previous year was also lower. Leading economic indicators continued to rise, resulting in an increase in international trade for the first time since August 2018. The high level of demand was manifested in a high level of flight capacity utilization. While a passenger flight loaded an average of around 2.1 tons of goods, which was almost 50% more than in the previous year, the load factor for freighter-only flights was around 8% or 5 tons higher than in the previous year. As the overall supply of freighter capacity was also increased, the volume of freighter-only cargo rose significantly by 27% (↗). The share of freighter cargo was 82 %, but the volume of cargo-only passenger aircraft also grew again to around 600 flights in September (↗).

Classification of the current situation by the cargo stakeholders interviewed

The respondents' information on current cargo volumes corresponds to the trends in transport statistics. For both imports and exports, more than 80% stated that the volume was "above expectations" or "as expected" (↗). Accordingly, the trend in the feedbacks on capacity, availability has also stabilised. Furthermore, none of the respondents currently sees an oversupply of available capacities (↗), while around 80% of the respondents report that capacity availability is in line with demand.

The signs of an economic upturn that have been recorded in various indices are also reflected in the assessments of future cargo volumes. Thus, the positive trend of the previous months is intensifying in the import and export sector: over 70% of all respondents classified the development in imports as "increasing", in exports this is even over 80% (↗). For the first time, we also asked for an outlook for the coming quarter (Q4). Around 75% of the responses also assessed the development as "increasing" for this period (↗).

With regard to product groups, a relatively high volume of pharmaceuticals was still reported. This picture was supplemented, compared to the previous survey, by an increased volume in the product groups textiles and high tech (↗). Concerning other product groups, no particular trend was identified. In addition, 100% of those interviewed were "satisfied" with the performance of the site in their own company and that of the authorities or rated it as "appropriate" (→). With regard to the performance on both the land and air sides, around 75% gave a positive assessment. However, the number of those dissatisfied with the services has risen further, particularly with regard to airside performance (↘). This is attributable to the increase in volume and the associated utilization of capacities under persistently difficult conditions.

Reported findings and need for action from the experience of recent months

While the reported challenges were very heterogeneous and specific with regard to the respective company and Frankfurt airport, two topics dominated feedback about the industry in general. On the one hand, the limited availability of qualified staff for freight forwarding and cargo handling, also in light of the ongoing corona pandemic. On the other hand, ongoing uncertainty in the market with regard to the further availability of cargo capacities and a possible further consolidation in the airline market.

Issued by: FRA Cargo Team as of: October 14th 2020, Cargo & Logistics Infrastructure Development, ZFL, Fraport AG
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