Brussels Airport recorded its highest tonnage in 10 years last year as it processed 732,000 tonnes of cargo in 2018.
The figure was a 5.8 per cent increase from 2017 and it was driven by the belly and trucked cargo segments, which made up for the declines in other sectors.
Belly enjoyed a very substantial 14.1 per cent rise (162,424 tonnes), thanks to the new destinations added. Freighter volumes and express service volumes recorded a loss of five (161,131 tonnes) and 1.7 per cent (219,938 tonnes) respectively. The highest increase was seen in trucked cargo, which went up 20.9 per cent (188,120 tonnes).
In the flown cargo segment, imports went up by seven per cent whilst exports remained stable. For trucked air cargo, there was a very substantial increase of 47 per cent in imports, whereas exports fell by six per cent. There was a significant rise in the export volumes of pharmaceutical products: plus 32 per cent over the year as a whole.
In December 2018, cargo volumes carried rose by 2.1 per cent compared against December 2017, reaching 62,137 tonnes. However, this growth remains well below that for the entire year (5.8 per cent).
The airport said to a degree, this weaker growth is explained by the nationwide strike of mid-December, when many cargo flights were cancelled by the airlines as a precaution.
Belly cargo saw a slight turn-up of 2.8 per cent, whereas full cargo and express services saw a downturn, in the same way as applies to 2018 as a whole. The slight fall of the express services was mainly due to the rise in e-commerce volume.
Trucked cargo saw a very substantial increase (33.8 per cent) in that it met rising demand and offset the reticence of the airlines to operate out of Brussels Airport on account of the stricter noise restrictions imposed by the Brussels Region.
As regards air cargo, imports continued to rise by two per cent whilst exports fell by six per cent. Air cargo to South America on the other hand recorded positive figures compared against year in both segments. Even though trucked cargo of goods intended for exports shows a slight two per cent rise, trucked cargo of imported goods recorded massive growth of 76 per cent.