Top 10 Air Freight Hubs
Written by: A. Selway Ryan
10.) Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, France
De Gaulle offers a toe-hold onto the European continent for clients as diverse as the UPS, DHL, and the Post Office. With a freight volume of 2.28 million tons in 2008, CDG has reported a 30% share of air freight in terms of the value of French exports. The airport has also seen impressive growth in express freight in recent years—FedEx most notably has established its second global hub at the site. In addition to international companies taking advantage of the hub, The French Post Office and its subsidiaries take advantage of a 14,000 m² perishable facility, which can handle more than 300,000 tons of perishable goods including fine cheeses, chocolates, and bricks of pate a year. Impressive, non?
9.) Worldport, Louisville International Airport, US
The name Worldport should give you some indication of the high volume this Kentucky hub deals in. With a freight volume of 1.97 millions tons in 2008, it stands as the one of the highest volume cargo hubs in the United States. Its status on the world cargo league table is largely due to the presence of one major package delivery giant, United Parcel Service (UPS). UPS’s growth at the airport is astounding—the $1 billion Worldport will given another $1 billion upgrade to increase sorting capacity at Worldport by 37% to 416,000 packages an hour by mid 2010.
8.) Dubai Cargo Gateway, Dubai International Airport, UAE
With a freight volume of 1.82 million tons handled in 2008, the Dubai Cargo Gateway has established itself as a key stop-off location for airfreight being transferred between the Far East and Europe. With its mega cargo terminal, the DCG is projected to handle 2.7 million tons of cargo a year. The 43,699 m² site includes automated handling systems and real-time tracking of cargo and is dedicated to local carrier Emirates Sky Cargo.
7.) Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Alaska, US
Whether you need to get your freight to the great white north or you’re just passing through, the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport provides. With 2.36 million tons of freight handled in 2008 alone, it stands as strategic hub for cargo being transferred between North America and the Far East. It is one of the main hubs for US-based carrier Polar Air Cargo, as well as FedEx and UPS. Notably, the airport claims to be the most liberalized in the country as of 2004 when a law was passed that allowed air cargo to or from a foreign country to be transferred to another airline in Alaska without being considered to have broken its international journey.
6.) Narita International Airport, Japan
As the busiest airfreight hub in Japan handling 2.1 million tons in 2008, Narita International Airport serves as a major connecting point for cargo traffic between Asia and the Americas. It is located in the eastern portion of the Greater Tokyo area and is the main international headquarters for Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airlines. The wide variety of airfreight facilities, from common import warehouse, maintenance area, agents building to temperature-controlled amenities, have attracted various international airfreight operators, including the likes of FedEx, Lufthansa Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo, and UPS.
Check back with us tomorrow to see who made the top five!
Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried
While driver shortages are a global problem, with a recent survey from the International Road Transport Union suggesting that driver shortages are expected to increase by 25% year-on-year across its 23 member countries, the issue has very much made itself felt for UK businesses in recent weeks.
A perfect storm of factors, which many within the industry have been wary of, and warning about, for months, have led to a situation wherein businesses are suddenly facing significant difficulties around transporting goods to shelves on time, as well as inflated operating costs for doing so.
What’s more, the public may also see price rises as a result due to demand outmatching supply for certain product lines, which in turn brings with it the risk of customer dissatisfaction and a hit to brand and stakeholder reputation. Given that this price inflation has been speculated to hit in October, when the extended grace period on Brexit customs checks comes to an end, the worst may be yet to come.
"Steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole"
That said, we have already been hearing reports of service interruption due to lack of driver availability, meaning that volumes aren’t being transported, or delivered, to required schedules and lead times. A real-world example of this occurred on the weekend of 4-6 June with convenience retailer Nisa, with deliveries to Nisa outlets across the UK affected by driver shortages to its logistics provider DHL.
But where has this skills shortage stemmed from?
Supply is the primary issue. Specifically, the number of available EU drivers has decreased by up to 15,000 drivers due to Brexit alone, and this has been further exacerbated by drivers returning to their home country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes to foreign exchange rates making UK a less desirable place to live and work. This, alongside the recent need to manage IR35 tax changes, has also led to significant inflation in driver and transport costs.
COVID-19 complications have also meant that there have been no HGV driver tests over the past year, meaning the expected 6,000-7,000 new drivers over the past year have not appeared. With the return of the hospitality sector we understand that this is a significant challenge with, for instance, order delivery lead times being extended.
It is little surprise, therefore, that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) earlier this month became the latest in a long line of industry spokespeople to write to the government about the driver shortage for trucks. The letter echoed the view held by much of the industry, that the cause of this issue is both multi-faceted and, at least in some aspects, long-standing.
So, many in the industry are in agreement as to the driving factors behind this crisis. But what can be done?
Simply enough, outside of businesses completely reorganising their supply chain network, external support is needed. In the short-term, the government should consider providing the industry with financial aid, and this can also be supported more widely with legislative change.
Specifically, immigration policy could be updated to place drivers on the shortage occupations list, which would go some way towards easing the burden created by foreign drivers returning to their home countries. Looking elsewhere, government should also look for ways to increase the availability of HGV driver tests after the blockage created by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Looking more long-term, steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole. As it stands, multiple sources suggest that the average age of truck drivers in the UK is 48, with only one in every hundred drivers under the age of 25. We must therefore do more to increase the talent pipeline coming into the industry if we are to offset more significant skills shortages further down the line.
On the back of a turbulent year for the supply chain industry, it has become increasingly clear that the long-foretold shortage of drivers is now having a tangible and, in places, crippling effect on supply chains.
Drivers, and the wider supply chain industry, have rightly been recognised for the seismic role they played in keeping the nation moving and fed over the past year under unprecedented strain. If this level of service is to continue, we must now see Government answer calls to provide the support the sector needs, and work hand-in-hand with the industry to find a solution. If we do not see concrete action to this effect soon, we are likely to be in for a turbulent few months.
Rob Wright is executive director at SCALA, a leading provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector