Schiphol has tough first quarter for cargo

14 / 05 / 2018

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol saw its airfreight volumes fall in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2017.

Cargo volumes for the January to March period saw 411,539 tonnes handled, a decline of 2.1% versus same period in 2017.

A spokesperson for the Dutch cargo hub, Europe's third largest by airfreight throughput, saw full freighter cargo volumes fell by 2.4%, with there being 7.4% fewer full freighter air traffic movements (ATMs) down from 4,420 lat year to 4,094 in the first quarter.

Moreover, belly cargo volumes also fell year-on-year, down by 1.6% compared with the first quarter of 2017.

The news wasn’t all bad. There was continued growth in cargo traffic with China and Latin American markets.

Cargo traffic with China, the airport’s largest single country market, rose by 2.1% year-on-year to reach 30,735 tonnes, boosted by increased volumes on both freighter and belly cargo flights.

Trade with the Asian continent saw a 4% decrease in inbound cargo to 67,629 tonnes but a 1% increase in outbound cargo to 75,182 tonnes.

Trade with Latin American nations increased strongly, with imports up by 10% to reach 34,097 tonnes and exports up by 31% to 20,701 tonnes.

Cargo imports from the continent were boosted by increased flower imports for St Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day.

Similarly, African flower exports boosted outbound cargo, up by 7% to 13,243 tonnes, although inbound cargo from the continent fell by 5% to 28,818 tonnes.

European, North American and Middle Eastern cargo throughput were all slightly down year-on-year.

European inbound traffic fell by 8% to 25,936 tonnes, outbound cargo volumes were down by 2% to 28,146 tonnes.

North America inbound cargo fell by 12% to 32,142 tonnes, outbound cargo was down by 5% to 36,791 tonnes.

Middle Eastern traffic fell by 1% inbound to 21,578 tonnes and 15% outbound to 27,277 tonnes.

“Although we saw an increase in ATMs and as a result increased volumes of belly cargo at Schiphol, this did not result in a commensurate increase in freight volumes and did not compensate for the reduction in full freighter ATMs,” assessed Maaike van der Windt, director aviation marketing, cargo and customer experience for Schiphol.

“This has had a knock-on effect in our first quarter results, but there are nonetheless underlying positive growth trends in cargo business from China and Latin America that we hope to build upon over the coming year,” she added.


The airport has been hit by the transfer of some freighter aircraft services to European competitor hubs after a limit on aircraft slots at Schiphol hit full freighter operations.