Air freight greatly facilitates international trade by allowing for the quick movement of cargo from one part of the world to another. During the pandemic, we have seen how the disruption of ocean freight services along with the high demand for goods, and the need to ship vaccines, prompted the transportation and logistics sector to rely solely on air freight shipments. The air cargo industry is largely responsible for running the global economy by virtue of its ability to transport products around the globe at competitive prices.
In this article, we are going to discuss which are the airports that are coming up as the world’s top air cargo hubs in 2023.
Top 10 busiest hubs of the air freight industry
Memphis International Airport
Memphis International Airport has been one of the busiest air cargo hubs in the world in the last few years, thanks to the rise of e-commerce and the growing operations of FedEx in this airport. Additionally, UPS has played a major role in making this airport one of the top cargo hubs. FedEx alone is known to handle over 180,000 packages per hour in this airport. It often competes with Hong Kong Airport for the top position in terms of cargo handling. The recent gains in the cargo volume in this airport are largely because of the increasing demand for online consumer items and pharmaceutical cargo.
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong International Airport has been ranked as one of the busiest air cargo hubs worldwide since 1996. The importance of this airport has further increased since the pandemic when HKG handled 4.5 million tonnes of shipment. Some of the factors that make this airport one of the top cargo hubs are the presence of a free economy, location and connectivity, superior facilities, a huge cargo handling facility, and an efficient workforce for cargo handling and security. According to predictions by industry experts, the yearly cargo throughput of this airport could reach short of 9 million tonnes by 2030.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Pudong Airport is the largest air cargo hub in China, the second largest in China, and the third largest in the world in 2022. It distinguishes itself from other airports in China because of its capability to handle wide-body equipment. Top international carriers such as DHL Aviation, Air China, China Cargo Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, FedEx Express and several others use this airport as their cargo hub. The Shanghai Pudong Airport is greatly responsible for the growth of aviation as well as the air cargo industry in Shanghai.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
For more than 50 years this airport has played a primary role in the development of the city of Anchorage and the state of Alaska. Presently the Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport is 4th busiest air cargo hub in the world. UPS and FedEx which have a strong presence in this airport use it as a hub to move cargo to the Far East. FedEx which makes for the largest cargo facility in Anchorage Airport handles approximately 13,400 parcels every hour. Due to its strategic location between North America and Asia, this airport is quickly transforming into a central e-commerce hub.
Incheon International Airport
Incheon Airport is the largest airport in South Korea, and one of the major air freight hubs in North East Asia. Skytrax, a UK-based airport review and ranking website has rated this airport as the best international transit airport and also as one of the cleanest airports. With more than 2 million square feet of cargo terminal area, Incheon Airport can handle 2.7 million tonnes of cargo per year. As a nerve center of the air freight industry in Northeast Asia, this airport has received numerous awards and accolades over the years.
Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport
This airport in Kentucky, USA, is one of the top five busiest cargo airports in the USA thanks to the large-scale operations of UPS. The Louisville Airport handles several international cargo flights through UPS’s global air freight hub known as UPS Worldport. The UPS Worldport has a packing and sorting center at the Louisville Airport that comes with a sorting capacity of 416,000 parcels every hour. Moreover, the UPS Worldport had a major role to play in the worldwide vaccine distribution. The presence of the UPS hub makes it an important economic driver in the Louisville region.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
This airport that is situated 40 Km from Taipei is the 7th largest cargo airport in the world in the first month of 2023. The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is an important gateway for air freight with destinations across several Asian countries. It continues to be one of the best-connected air cargo hubs in Asia. Major carriers such as EVA Air, Starlux Airlines, Tigerair Taiwan, China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, Uni Air, and more use this airport as their cargo hub. The primary commodities that are handled in this airport include computers and mobile phones. The Taiwan Taoyuan Airport is presently undergoing an expansion of facilities and once completed it will further add to the status of this airport.
Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport is a major air freight hub for Southeastern USA while also acting as the largest gateway between the USA, the Caribbean, and South America. Sound infrastructure, new runway capacity, absence of slot restrictions, and the capacity for development make the Miami airport one of the most preferred air freight destinations in the USA. It is a focus city for American Airlines, Avianca, Frontier Airlines, and LATAM. Miami International Airport is projected to handle 4 million tons of freight annually by 2040. Presently, it handles around 85% of the air imports and 80% of the exports from the Caribbean and South American countries. Additionally, MIA is also a distribution hub for fresh food products, electronic goods, textiles, telecommunication equipment, industrial machines, and pharma items.
Los Angeles International Airport
The Los Angeles Airport which has made it to the list of the top 10 air global cargo hubs, is the largest and busiest airport on the US West Coast. The LA Airport is responsible for over $118 billion in imports and exports. Moreover, its proximity to some of the biggest industrial corporations makes it an important distribution center for air shipments. Clothing items are one of the most imported air freight items to this airport. This is followed by computer equipment, fish, footwear, vehicles, medical instruments, and electronic parts.
Tokyo Narita Airport
Tokyo Narita Airport is the 10th busiest air cargo hub in the globe in 2022. It is the busiest airport in Japan both in terms of air freight as well as passenger traffic. With a warehouse size of 200,000 square meters and a cargo handling capacity of 2.4 million tonnes per year, the Tokyo Narita Airport plays a prominent role in air freight logistics in Japan. This airport offers streamlined freight handling via integrated facilities both on and off the airport with 40 logistics companies operating in the airport. Moreover, it serves as an important hub for carriers such as Jetstar Japan, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, and Peach.