ACI: Hong Kong retains status in 2017 as world’s busiest cargo hub

posted on 20th September 2018 by Justin Burns
ACI: Hong Kong retains status in 2017 as world's busiest cargo hub

Airports Council International (ACI) World has published the 2018 edition of its Annual World Airport Traffic Report (WATR) which found cargo growth remained resilient and robust in the face of threats from trade and political tension around the world and Hong Kong International Airport maintained its status as the world’s busiest cargo hub in 2017.

Air cargo also experienced a revival across many of the world’s airports in 2017, posting a record-breaking jump of 7.7 per cent from the previous year.

The world’s airports handled 118,612,750 metric tonnes of cargo in 2017 and ACI said aviation’s centre of gravity continued to shift eastward in 2017 and most of the world’s fastest-growing large airports are located in emerging markets.

Total air cargo volume at the 30 busiest cargo airports grew 7.3 per cent in 2017. These airports handled a combined 62 million metric tonnes of cargo, representing 52 per cent of all global air cargo volume.

Hong Kong leads the ranking with five million metric tonnes of cargo handled in 2017, a 9.4 per cent increase over 2016. Memphis remained in second place with 4.3 million metric tonnes and Shanghai stayed in third with 3.8 million metric tonnes.

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens said: “The core issue for our industry remains how we respond to this demand at a local, national, and international level as physical capacity considerations and potential bottlenecks in air transport infrastructure pose challenges in accommodating future air transport demand.

“To help to ensure communities continue to reap the social and economic benefits of air service growth, national policy should be focused on facilitating growth over the long-term, setting out clear objectives for their aviation sector.

“While airports and their partners strive to provide a positive response to the challenges of growth, the threat of heavy-handed regulation that hinders the economic sustainability of airport investment and operation and changes in international trade policy remain fundamental concerns. Protectionist policies that retreat from further economic integration and air transport liberalization could have adverse effects on the industry.

“Global air service growth has remained resilient but the continuing impact of protectionism and trade wars on international air transport services will likely have a major impact on airports in the future. The benefits of increased air travel are clear and further liberalization should be welcomed to maintain growth and improve connectivity to the benefit of the global trade and local communities.”

ACI said airports located in countries that are major exporters of manufactured goods handled almost 75 per cent of global air cargo volume.

Even with the uncertainty regarding the threat of trade wars and the growth of protectionist sentiments across the world, industrial production continued to make gains as a result of the cyclical recovery in the global economy.

Inventory build-ups, augmented export orders and a strengthening of consumer demand reflected in increased online purchases were important drivers in the near-term. All of this translated into growth in air cargo volumes.

Airport Ranking by Cargo

RANK 2017 RANK 2016 AIRPORT CITY / COUNTRY / CODE CARGO (Metric tonnes): Loaded and Unloaded CARGO (Metric tonnes): Percent change
1 1 HONG KONG, HK (HKG) 5 049 898 9.4
2 2 MEMPHIS TN, US (MEM) 4 336 752 0.3
3 3 SHANGHAI, CN (PVG) 3 824 280 11.2
4 4 INCHEON, KR (ICN) 2 921 691 7.6
5 6 ANCHORAGE AK, US (ANC) 2 713 230 6.7
6 5 DUBAI, AE (DXB) 2 654 494 2.4
7 7 LOUISVILLE KY, US (SDF) 2 602 695 6.8
8 8 TOKYO, JP (NRT) 2 336 427 7.9
9 11 TAIPEI, Chinese Taipei (TPE) 2 269 585 8.2
10 9 PARIS, FR (CDG) 2 195 229 2.8
11 10 FRANKFURT, DE (FRA) 2 194 056 3.8
12 13 SINGAPORE, SG (SIN) 2 164 700 7.9
13 14 LOS ANGELES CA, US (LAX) 2 158 324 8.1
14 12 MIAMI FL, US (MIA) 2 071 722 2.9
15 15 BEIJING, CN (PEK) 2 029 584 4.5
16 16 DOHA, QA (DOH) 2 020 942 15
17 19 LONDON, GB (LHR) 1 794 276 9.4
18 18 GUANGZHOU, CN (CAN) 1 780 423 7.8
19 17 AMSTERDAM, NL (AMS) 1 778 382 4.9
20 20 CHICAGO IL, US (ORD) 1 721 807 12.6
TOTAL 50 618 497 6.8