Another reason trade policy needs a serious look

lifted from Calculated Risk

From the International Air Transport Association: Cargo Plummets 22.6% in December (hat tip Bob_in_MA)

In the month of December global international cargo traffic plummeted by 22.6% compared to December 2007. The same comparison for international passenger traffic showed a 4.6% drop. The international load factor stood at 73.8%.

For the full-year 2008, international cargo traffic was down 4.0%, passenger traffic showed a modest increase of 1.6%, and the international load factor stood at 75.9%.

The 22.6% free fall in global cargo is unprecedented and shocking. There is no clearer description of the slowdown in world trade. Even in September 2001, when much of the global fleet was grounded, the decline was only 13.9%,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.” Air cargo carries 35% of the value of goods traded internationally.

“2009 is shaping up to be one of the toughest years ever for international aviation. The 22.6% drop in international cargo traffic in December puts us in un-charted territory and the bottom is nowhere in sight. Keep your seatbelts fastened and prepare for a bumpy ride and a hard landing,” said Bisignani.
emphasis added

Update: MG clarifies the post in comments:

Well, look at the FTK and ATK declines reflected in the second pdf document. Asia is bleeding far worse than Europe or the USA.

Now compare that to the significant decline in passenger travel across the Pacific in the other pdf document. Some of that lost travel is industrial business travel, and that slump kicked in last September as stated on that document. As explained, M&A deals, other financial meetings, and manufacturers business travel fell sharply. Perhaps it’s a stretch, but I tied the decline in business travel to the large drop in cargo movements across the Pacific. In other words, I believe that they go hand in hand. Of course, I’m also drawing upon information noted elsewhere.

If the USA snapshot was one during the early or mid ’90s, we would see more of a slump in air cargo movements in the USA as opposed to large transocean movement declines to/from Asia where a high concentration of goods are being manufactured for the U.S. and other markets.

I expect that was one of the points that Rdan noted or thought about as he made the post.

My short answer is simple: There should be no question that air cargo movements to/from Asia are down considerably. And it will probably get much worse.