Expert analysis: Air freight rates continue to fall

a. hartrodt secures capacities in the summer flight schedule and passes on price advantages to customers.

Airfreight customers of a. hartrodt are benefiting from lower costs: "We expect freight rates to fall significantly in the summer flight schedule," says Stefan Goestl, Airfreight Manager Germany at a. hartrodt in Munich. After pandemic-related cargo space shortages and exploding rates, a trend reversal has been emerging since fall 2022, according to the expert: "Capacities are back, but demand is declining because of the energy crisis." The pressure was felt in the traditionally strong fourth quarter, he says: "We didn't have express-level freight rates this time."

China demand below prior-year level

Before Chinese New Year in January 2023, demand to and from China "did not match that of the previous year", according to Stefan Goestl. Even during the Chinese Golden Week holiday at the beginning of October 2022, the cargo skies between China and Europe remained "quiet". Stefan Goestl explains the "slowdown" with falling sea freight rates, among other things: "Ship transports are significantly more affordable again." At the same time, consumer spending in Europe is declining, warehouses are full.

"We will pass on price advantages"

Traditionally, a. hartrodt has a strong position for air freight connections between Europe and Asia/Oceania. For these regions, Stefan Goestl currently notes a "stable rate level". In mid-February, the international freight forwarder will start negotiating freight space with the airlines for the summer flight schedule. In doing so, the experts will pay attention to a balanced relationship between fixed "hard block" contracts and ad hoc bookings. "For customers, this has the advantage that we can create capacity and at the same time react flexibly to price developments," explains Stefan Goestl. Added value at a. hartrodt: "We will pass on price advantages."