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Bimonthly Market Outlook - July 2021

Updated: Jul 8

The latest news about Air Freight and Sea Freight Market in JULY 2021.


Key Points:

  • Air cargo capacity was down 11% during 15 – 28 June, compared to the same weeks in 2019. Asia Pacific to Middle East is close to recovery, with a 5% decline in air cargo capacity vis-à-vis 2019.

  • On a year-to-date basis, 13 764 013 commercial flights have been flown this year, 10% more than 2020 and 34% less than 2019.

  • 23 cancelled sailings have been announced between weeks 27 and 30 on major trades - Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med, out of a total of 500 scheduled sailings, representing a 5% cancellation rate.

  • Drewry’s composite index increased 4.2% in the week of 1st July, and remains 346% higher than a year ago.

  • Alphaliner compared the top 12 carriers’ capacity between January 1 and June 28, identifying five ‘winners’. MSC and Wan Hai have been the most successful buyers of tonnage, while Zim has been very active in the charter market fixing extra tonnage for its new Transpacific services targeting ‘e-Commerce’ cargo.

Air Freight


Market Trends (21/06 - 27/06)


In week 25 (21 - 27 Jun 2021 ), worldwide volume increased by 1% compared with the previous week. Worldwide capacity remained unchanged.


On a regional level, the origin Middle East & South Asia did best with a volume increase of 5% week-over-week, while Africa experienced the largest decrease in volume (-7%).


The average worldwide yield/rate in week 25 decreased compared with week 24, continuing the trend from previous weeks.






Market Trends (15/06 - 28/06)


Air cargo capacity was down 11% during 15 – 28 June, compared to the same weeks in 2019. Asia Pacific to Middle East is close to recovery, with a 5% decline in air cargo capacity vis-à-vis 2019.




Widebody belly air cargo capacity increased 5% in 15 – 28 June versus the previous two weeks. Freighter cargo capacity remained relatively stable the last two weeks. Global air cargo capacity increased 1% over the same period.


Middle East & South Asia and Europe trade lanes are driving most of widebody belly capacity growth. Widebody belly capacity has steadily increased for European carriers in the last two weeks and is now 35% above capacity at the start of the year.


Passenger freighters currently account for 6-7% of widebody international passenger flights. An end to passenger freighter flights would have a limited overall impact on current air cargo capacity.



Commercial Flights Tracker



As at 5th of July 2021, 89 771 commercial flights were flown, compared to 53 945 and 120 326 on the same day in 2020 and 2019, respectively.


On a year-to-date basis, 13 764 013 commercial flights have been flown this year, 10% more than 2020 and 34% less than 2019.


Sea Freight


Cancelled Sailings - 02/07


Across the major trades: Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med, 23 cancelled sailings have been announced between weeks 27 and 30, out of a total of 500 scheduled sailings, representing a 5% cancellation rate.


Over the next 4 weeks, The Alliance has announced 11 cancellations, followed by 2M and Ocean Alliance with 5 cancellations, each.


Through the month of July, the overall number of cancelled sailings for the major East-West trades will go down by 14% y-o-y, while the effective capacity deployed will see an increase of 13%, for the same period.


Shippers are still struggling with sky-high spot rates, rollovers, backlogs, tightness of space and shortage of empty equipment. The imminent peak season will certainly add more stress to already overwhelmed supply chains.




World Container Index (WCI) - 01/07


Drewry’s composite World Container index rose 4.2% or $337 to reach $8,399.09 per 40ft container, which is 346% higher than the same week in 2020.


The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry for year-to-date, is $5,643 per 40ft container (feu), which is $3,628 higher than the five-year average of $2,015 per 40ft container.


Per 40ft, freight rates on Los Angeles – Shanghai soared 23%. Spot rates on Shanghai – Genoa increased 502% versus same period in 2020. Similarly, rates on Shanghai – Rotterdam increased by 567%. Likewise, rates on Shanghai-Los Angeles and Shanghai – New York.


Drewry expects rates to remain steady in the coming week.




Capacity gains of top 12 carriers



Capacity Outlook (week 25 - week 36)





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