Amsterdam Airport Schiphol records increase in cargo throughput in 2021

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Amsterdam Airport Schiphol cargo figures for 2021

Freight volumes grew by 15.7% compared to the previous year at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, following the restructure of its cargo department

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s total cargo volume for 2021 increased by 15.7% to 1.66 million tonnes compared to 2020.

Last year, inbound cargo volumes increased by 15.2% to 869,241 tonnes in 2021 compared to 2020, and outbound cargo volumes also increased by 16.1% to 798,063 tonnes during the same period.

The top three destinations for cargo by tonnage were Shanghai, China, Chicago, USA, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In 2021, freight volumes were shipped in two categories of flights: full freighters, which accounted for 67% of total volumes, and passenger flights at 33% of total volumes.

Market recovery

Outbound cargo to the Asian region from Schiphol increased by 8.7% to 259,615 tonnes in 2021 compared to 2020, while inbound traffic from the region also went up by 4.9% to 279,822 tonnes.

The outbound North American market increased by 22.1% to 184,398 tonnes, with inbound traffic from here growing by 24.9% to 126,299 tonnes.

Cargo inbound from Latin America increased by 11.4% to 114,714 tonnes and outbound traffic to the region went up by 15.4 % to 84,116 tonnes.

The figures for European outbound traffic increased by 17.4% to 100,246 tonnes, while inbound cargo increased 30% to 138,395 tonnes.

The Middle East market also told a positive story, with inbound cargo from the region up 16.2% to 117,328 tonnes, and outbound cargo up 30% to 125,229 tonnes.

Outbound traffic to Africa increased by 4.2% to 44,458 tonnes, with inbound traffic increasing 21.9% to 92,683 tonnes.

Growth factors

The main factors attributable to the growth observed in 2021 were the return of sufficient slot availability at the airport and high demand.

New carriers, such as Vietnam Airlines, and returning airlines, such as MASKargo, have also been welcomed at Schiphol in 2021.

The end of 2021 saw some difficulties in terms of overall operational capacity at Schiphol owing to the high demand and capacity challenges experienced by the global air freight sector at large, but Schiphol has ensured improvement and swift problem-solving by setting up a task force with the supply chain partners that are situated at Schiphol Zuidoost.

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Anne Marie van Hemert, Head of Aviation Business Development, Schiphol Airport

The 2021 figures are encouraging in light of the ongoing challenges of Covid on the operating environment,” said Anne Marie van Hemert, Head of Aviation Business Development.

Last year, the cargo team formed a new Aviation Business Development Division, putting all airline and cargo commercial and operational business in a single department and introducing new faces.

“The newly established team has focused on accelerating our Smart Cargo Mainport Programme and ensuring faster handling of export cargo, resulting in Digital Pre-notification for all ground handlers at Schiphol as the new standard.

“Going forward, the team will focus its efforts on securing Automated Nomination as the new standard, with sustainability a key driver behind this and all of our digitalisation initiatives.”

Focus on the future

A refreshed overall cargo strategy has been devised by Schiphol Airport for 2022 to tackle the challenges ahead, including capacity shortage, landside congestion, sustainability, security for valuable cargo, enforcement of smart Customs policies and digitalisation.

By leading change, engaging in stakeholder cooperation, defining minimum standards, communicating the importance of these efforts and taking concrete actions towards its overall goal, Schiphol aims to be a competitive and sustainable cargo hub.

Schiphol Cargo’s overall strategy centres around five key pillars:

  1. Optimizing connectivity to be the best-connected airport with a strong long-haul network
  2. Orchestrating seamless cargo processes to enable a predictable cargo flow
  3. Contributing to Schiphol’s goal to be a sustainable cargo hub
  4. Ensuring safe and secure operations, so that valuable cargo is protected
  5. Realising state-of-the-art digitalisation and improving IT as a pre-requisite to achieve all of these goals

This year will also see the continued modernisation of airport cargo information platform Cargonaut’s Port Community System under the flag of Schiphol.

The airport has furthermore worked with stakeholders and partners on the development of local rule 2, which states that slots that are given back or re-delivered will be prioritised for cargo flights.

Approval for this is being sought from the ministry and ACNL, and the work is hoped to be finalized this year.

Schiphol looks forward to maintaining the momentum started in 2021 this year, accelerating efforts with all our innovative, digital, and sustainable initiatives that will lead to a safer, more reliable and more efficient cargo flow at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol,” said van Hemert.

Together, we want to shape Europe’s smartest cargo hub.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Thursday 20th January 2022

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