News & Analysis

Boeing report points to long-term cargo growth

Asia, e-commerce and continued growth: the key themes from Boeing’s biennial World Air Cargo Forecast

Boeing’s World Air Cargo Forecast, which looks ahead for 20 years, forecasts that global air cargo demand will grow by 4.2 per cent each year over the next two decades. It said this would be led by the growing economies across Asia and their burgeoning middle classes. The report, which is published and updated every two years, forecast growth from mainland China and intra-East Asian markets to be above the global rate – 6.3 per cent and 5.8 per cent per year respectively.

‘We continue to see that the strongest growth will be associated with East Asia,’ said Tom Hoang, Boeing Regional Director, Cargo Marketing for East Asia and Europe. ‘East Asia, which currently accounts for about half of the world air cargo traffic share, will increase its share to nearly 60 per cent over the next 20 years.’

A lot of this growth will continue to be triggered by e-commerce. The report outlines that mainland China’s appetite for consumer goods has seen a 40 per cent surge in goods bought online over the past five years.

Commenting on the report, Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Commercial, Nelson Chin said: ‘Our dedicated fleet together with a large network and fleet for passenger services will continue to make us a key player in global air freight. We will continue to expand our network through our state-of-the-art freighter and passenger fleets, and enrich our service offerings to better meet our customers’ needs.

‘While the Boeing report looks to long-term trends, we are keeping a very close eye on near-term developments from the escalation in tariffs between the US and mainland China. Amid the political wrangling associated with trade negotiations, it’s natural to expect some tentativeness in purchase orders. Crucially, we still believe that the volume of airfreight will continue to be strong, where macroeconomics and consumerism in key leading markets remain robust. The sticky nature of the supply chain means any changes will be more gradual, and could create new demand on other trade lanes. We are monitoring this closely and will adopt an agile approach with our network planning so that we can respond quickly to any changing market demand.’

To read the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast report, click here.