Ranked by total cargo volume (inbound and outbound), Memphis International was the world's largest air cargo hub, with over 4.6 million metric tons of cargo handled in 2020.
The transport of goods by an aircraft started in the 1910s. Yet it took a multitude of trials and errors to start paving the way for modern air cargo market. Thus, it took over 40 years for a safely and economically feasible air cargo market to become established. In general, air cargo operations are composed of air freight, air mail and air express. In 2019, the highest growth in cargo traffic was reported in Africa. Yet the share of this region is the smallest in the global air cargo market indicating the catching-up effect of the air cargo market in developing regions. In 2019, Asia Pacific was the biggest air cargo market. In 2019, the top four leading airports for international air freight were based in Asia. In that same period, most of the air cargo fleet was in North America, with 901 cargo aircraft.
European air cargo firms
Since the first industrial revolution in Europe, European corporations started to advance their transportation capacity to facilitate the industrial process. As the produced goods became more complex, a further horizontal market integration was crucial. Thus, it intensified the need for transporting parts of a finished product from distant sources. Besides industrial benefits, advanced international transportation allowed also consumers to access a multitude of products from other countries with ease. In 2020, the top three world’s leading airfreight forwarders were European logistics companies. DHL Supply Chain & Global Forwarding, Kuehne + Nagel and DSV Panalpina were the leading companies based on the volume of freight forwarded. Freight-forwarding mostly facilitates the delivery process of economic value chain operations, that is why the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak did not leave freight-forwarding unaffected. Since the 1920s, the industrial production deviated by the highest negative percentage from its normal state due to the COVID-19. This directly affected the need to transport goods across the globe for various purposes. For instance, the estimated actual impact of COVID-19 on air freight forwarding is roughly a 2.8 percent decline.
Cargo airports worldwide by freight volume from 2015 to 2020
(in million tons)
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ACI. (April 22, 2021). Cargo airports worldwide by freight volume from 2015 to 2020 (in million tons) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/270201/freight-volume-of-cargo-airports-worldwide/
ACI. "Cargo airports worldwide by freight volume from 2015 to 2020 (in million tons)." Chart. April 22, 2021. Statista. Accessed May 28, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/270201/freight-volume-of-cargo-airports-worldwide/
ACI. (2021). Cargo airports worldwide by freight volume from 2015 to 2020 (in million tons). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: May 28, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/270201/freight-volume-of-cargo-airports-worldwide/
ACI. "Cargo Airports Worldwide by Freight Volume from 2015 to 2020 (in Million Tons)." Statista, Statista Inc., 22 Apr 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/270201/freight-volume-of-cargo-airports-worldwide/
ACI, Cargo airports worldwide by freight volume from 2015 to 2020 (in million tons) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/270201/freight-volume-of-cargo-airports-worldwide/ (last visited May 28, 2022)