Hong Kong International retains busiest cargo hub top spot

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Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) retained its position as the world’s busiest cargo airport in 2022 despite the impact of Covid restrictions, according to statistics from Airports Council International.

HKIA saw its cargo volumes fall by 16.4% year on year in 2022 to 4.2m tonnes as restrictions on crew hampered operations, particularly at combination carrier Cathay Pacific, which uses Hong Kong as its home hub.

The restrictions resulted in the carrier having to massively reduce its freighter operations in the opening months of the year.

However, other airports also suffered from slower demand as volumes settled down after a surge in demand in 2021.

In fact, nine out of the top 10 airports reported demand decreases in 2022 with volumes at the leading 10 hubs — representing around 27% (30.8m tonnes) of the global volumes in 2022 — down to 9.9% in 2022 year on year.

“The decline can be attributed to the ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains,” ACI said.

Second-placed Memphis – home to express giant FedEx – saw its cargo volumes fall by 9.8% year on year to 4m tonnes.

Meanwhile, US transhipment hub Anchorage moved up a spot into third place on account of its volumes dropping at a lower rate than Shanghai.

Anchorage’s volumes in 2021 fell by 4.3% on 2021 to 3.5m tonnes while Shanghai reported a 21.7% fall to 3.1m tonnes as production in China was heavily affected by lockdowns and travel restrictions.

The only airport in the top 10 to report an increase in the year was UPS’ home hub of Louisville, which reported a 0.5% increase to 3.1m tonnes.

Source: Airports Council International


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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]