WorldACD data reveals what most involved in the sector had long feared: that cargo in 2019 is a subject best forgotten.

Despite encouraging noises from the likes of IATA, who believes that 2020 will see a turnaround, there remain plenty of doubters, with transport and logistics company Kuehne + Nagel, for example, not expecting any upturn until after the summer.

According to WorldACD, during the last month of 2019 air cargo was down by 1.7%, year-on-year. Overall, there was little cheer in the final figures: worldwide revenues (in US$) had dipped by a frightening 11.7% compared to 2018. Of course, this is not a blanket statement, for certain segments, such as pharmaceuticals and hi-tech products, actually bucked the trend. On the strength of that, one is tempted to asset that the cargo sector will only really become a cause for concern when pharma and the like take a nosedive.

Whilst the Sino/US tariff war has not done the sector any favours, it has only been part of the equation. Goods out of Europe took a hit, with Germany, in particular, suffering. Quixotically, some of the smaller regions of Africa and Latin America actually posted encouraging progress, says WorldACD.

The sector will have to wait to find out the impact of the latest worry, that of the Chinese coronavirus, which has effectively stopped flights to and from China for the foreseeable future.