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ITE Transport and Logistics

Russian air freight market update: an optimistic outlook

The Russian airfreight market seems to be well on their way to a recovery after years of stagnation and challenging market conditions.

Optimism returns to the Russian air cargo sector

The airfreight market has had a bleak couple of years as a result of macroeconomic factors, but airfreight is poised for an upturn, according to Robert van de Weg.

Van de Weg is the former Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of AirBridgeCargo, Russia’s largest airfreight operator that accounts for 51 of all total cargo traffic, and as much as 75% of total cargo turnover of Russian air carriers.

This optimism is not baseless. AirBridgeCargo flew a total of 498,177 tonnes of airfreight between January and October 2016, soaring 29% year-on-year. According to the Federal Agency for Air Transport, within the four first months of 2017, Russian airlines carried 344,300 tonnes of freight and mail - a significant 22.6% increase compared to the same period last year.
In April 2017 alone, Russian airlines transported 93,000 tonnes of freight. Cargo turnover is also up 23% to 2.359 billion tonnes kilometre. 

Cargo turnover and traffic, as well as volume of shipments on international flights, are also expected to gradually ascend until 2021. International cargo turnover increased by 22% to 5,716 million tonne-kilometre, while total cargo turnover soared 20% to 6,575 million tonne-kilometre by the end of 2016.
Latest trade figures are showing an increase of both imports and exports. To accommodate these increased traffic flows, a new cargo complex at Moscow Sheremetyevo is in the works - potentially the largest of its kind in Russia.
The cargo terminal will be operated by Moscow Cargo LLC and is built for accommodating 380,000 tonnes per year, but it can be expanded to handle up to 1 million tonnes per year. Overall, the prospect is looking rather bright.

Compared this to Russia’s airfreight market performance over the past several years, things appear to be turning around. Cargo volumes in April 2016 fell more than 13% year-on-year, with freight volumes across all Russian airports falling in the 2014-2015 period. Now, as the above figures tell us, the market is entering recovery mode.

The airfreight sector has been negatively affected by sanctions on perishable items from Europe and the US. There are several other factors that may explain why the market has been performing poorly, including weakened world trade, currency collapse, and political and economic crises happening worldwide.

Domestic cargo volume rises counter declines in international air freight

According to Analytical Credit Rating Agency, international cargo traffic went down 4% while domestic cargo traffic experienced a 5% increase, but the traffic decline on international routes was offset by the average transportation distance per one ton of cargo, soaring to 8,105 km from 6,342 km.

The 7 international markets accounting for 50% of total cargo traffic in Russian airports include China, Germany, US, Netherlands, France, Italy and Israel. 

Connect with important figures in Russia’s airfreight sector at TransRussia

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