The Japan Aircargo Forwarders Association (JAFA) recorded airborne export cargo consolidation totaling 215,896 in January this year, down 10.9% from the same period a year earlier, or 72,141 tons in terms of weight, down 9.3%. The year-on-year reduction margin deteriorated by 3.3 points from December last year owing to the onset of the slowdown in cargo traffic for the staple East Asia-bound goods. In terms of cargo weight, January marked the third consecutive month of year-on-year drops since November last year. Export cargoes bound for Thailand, where the urgent demand for flood-rated cargoes is still growing, continued to enjoy a wide-margin jump of a little more than 20%, but this failed to cover for the lackluster performance in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which suffered from 30-40% declines across-the-board.
Export air cargoes from Japan usually go on a downward trend in January as a backlash of the peak season in the fall. This year, however, the contraction in cargoes bound for the Chinese region had been more notable. As for East Asia-bound cargoes, a softening in cargo traffic had begun to manifest as of the same period last year, and now the volume has become smaller. Total weight of the export cargoes hit the lowest level in recent years, excluding the same month in 2009 when the cargo volume (44,418 tons) suffered from a drastic drop after the Lehman shock. The celebration of the Chinese New Year in January this year, when it was held in February last year, also fueled the contraction in cargo volume.
By region, airborne export cargoes totaled 14,680 tons for TC1 (U.S.), up 3.1% compared to the same period in 2011, 13,494 tons for TC2 (Europe, Near/Middle East and Africa), down 7%, and 43,965 tons in TC3 (Asia and Oceania), down 13.5%.
In terms of the track record per major destination, ex-Japan export cargoes jumped 16.1% to 4,588 tons in the U.S. Midwest, dropped 14.7% to 3,606 tons in the U.S. West, climbed 5.9% to 2,899 tons in the U.S. South and slipped 15.9% to 1,315 tons in the U.S. Northeast for the TC1 region. Exports to Mexico fared relatively well, doubling last year's figure to 807 tons. For TC, exports surged 2% to 4,902 tons in Germany, dipped 30.5% to 2,447 tons in Benelux, plunged 7.8% to 1,634 tons in the U.K. and dropped 0.5% to 861 tons in France. Cargoes flown to Benelux remained in the doldrums, following the 35% decline in December last year.
Exports to the Top Five countries in the TC3 region totaled 10,713 tons in China (down 28.8%), 9,488 tons in Thailand (up 2.25 folds), 4,797 tons in Hong Kong (down 36.3%), 4,792 tons in Taiwan (down 40.7%) and 4,024 tons in South Korea (down 28%). In the Southeast Asian region, apart from cargoes to the Philippines surging past last year's volume, exports to Indonesia, where the export of automobile-related goods is evolving on a bullish tone, also jumped 46.9% to 1,493 tons. Meanwhile, exports to Singapore and Malaysia dipped below last year's levels.
Handlings of the five major operators in Japan, namely Nippon Express, Kintetsu Express, Yusen Logistics, Hankyu Hanshin Express and NNR Global Logistics (Nishitetsu), in January are as per the accompanying table. The total share of the five companies in terms of export weight came to 59.1%, down 2.9 points from the 62% recorded in January 2011. The said market share evolved at around 61% until October last year, but has been stuck below the 60% mark for three straight months now since November last year. But while the total cargo weight of the five major companies plunged by 13.6%, the decline for the other companies was curtailed to 2.3%, indicating that the market share of small/medium-scale forwarders is swelling.
Airborne import cargoes for January totaled 188,480 cases, down 10.2% from a year earlier, and 74,937 tons in terms of weight, down 7.4%, with the number of cases representing the 12th consecutive month of year-on-year declines. By customs clearance point, the volume totaled 122,460 cases in Narita (down 10.6%), 2,656 cases in Baraki (down 34.1%), 1,926 cases in Haneda (up 2.47 folds), 17,123 cases in Nagoya (down 6.4%), 34,929 cases at the Kansai airport (down 14.2%) and 5,945 cases in Fukuoka (down 5.7%).