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Air Cargo Rates Decline on East-West Trades in February 2024

Air cargo rates on major east-west trades in February continued their decline compared to last year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year break. According to the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI), rates from Hong Kong to North America dropped 5.5% year-on-year in February to $4.66 per kg, down from $5.22 per kg in January. The two-week Lunar New Year holiday in much of Asia started on February 10, a delay from January 22 in 2023, contributing to the rate decline between January and February. While rates remained below 2023 levels, the rate of decline narrowed from the 15% drop in January, as prices surged earlier in February, reaching $5.30 per kg in the week ending February 11. From Hong Kong to Europe, prices were down 5% year-on-year to $4.18 per kg but increased from January's $4.12 per kg. This shift may reflect some modal change as shippers sought alternatives to ocean shipping services affected by Red Sea missile attacks.

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