Home » Air Cargo Giants: Unveiling the Busiest Cargo Airports in the World

Air Cargo Giants: Unveiling the Busiest Cargo Airports in the World

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Blog Post

The world runs on goods, and air cargo plays a vital role in keeping the wheels spinning. From fresh produce and electronics, to vital medical supplies and luxury goods, about 60 million metric tons of cargo cross the globe yearly. But where are the busiest hubs handling this critical flow?

Air cargo, while constituting a relatively small portion (2-3%) of global trade by volume, plays an outsized role in facilitating international commerce. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air cargo transports a staggering $6 trillion worth of goods annually, representing a significant 35% of world trade by value. Despite a recent decline in global air cargo volumes reported by the Airports Council International in 2022, attributed to geopolitical tensions and trade disruptions, the world’s leading cargo airports continue to demonstrate their resilience and vital contribution to the global air cargo network.


Top Air Cargo Hubs in the World


1. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG):

Despite a recent dip in tonnage, HKG’s reign as a global trade gateway remains strong. Its efficient operations, advanced infrastructure, and strategic location between East and West solidify its position as one of the busiest cargo airports in the world. From high-value electronics to time-sensitive pharmaceuticals, HKG handles diverse cargo, making it a vital cog in the global supply chain.

2. Memphis International Airport (MEM):

MEM’s nickname, “Superhub,” speaks volumes. Home to FedEx’s global hub, it’s a critical player in express delivery, processing millions of packages daily. Its central U.S. location ensures fast and efficient connections across the country, making it a lifeline for e-commerce and time-sensitive shipments.

3. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC):

This Alaskan giant leverages its unique geographic position to become a vital stopover for trans-Pacific cargo flights. Airlines use Anchorage to refuel and rest crews, making it a key link in the East-West airfreight network. Fresh seafood, perishable goods, and even live animals benefit from ANC’s efficient handling and strategic position as one of the busiest cargo airports globally.

4. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG):

As China’s economic engine roars, PVG plays a vital role. It connects the country to the world, handling everything from e-commerce goods to industrial machinery. Its robust infrastructure and growing trade volume solidify its position as a key player in the global trade landscape.

5. Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF):

Louisville is synonymous with express delivery thanks to the mammoth UPS Worldport––the world’s largest automated package handling facility. This state-of-the-art facility sorts and processes millions of packages daily, ensuring speedy deliveries around the world. SDF’s role in the global express delivery network is undeniable.

6. Incheon International Airport (ICN):

ICN is a key driver of South Korea’s export-oriented economy, particularly for semiconductors, the backbone of modern technology, and the booming e-commerce sector. Additionally, the Cool Cargo Center, a specialized facility within ICN, ensures efficient and secure handling of temperature-sensitive goods, further supporting the export of perishable products by Korean manufacturers. Its strategic location in Northeast Asia further adds to its significance.

7. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE):

Similar to ICN, TPE plays a crucial role in Taiwan’s tech industry. As a major hub for tech goods and electronics, it reflects the country’s position as the global leader in semiconductor manufacturing. TPE’s efficient operations and connections to key markets make it a vital link in the global tech supply chain.

8. Miami International Airport (MIA):

MIA is the leading international freight airport in the Americas, handling over 2.5 million tons of cargo annually. As a major gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, it’s a vital hub for perishable goods like flowers, fruits, and seafood. Its strategic location and efficient handling ensure these delicate products reach their destinations fresh and fast.

9. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX):

LAX plays a pivotal role in the global supply chain, especially for tech products, benefitting from its proximity to tech hubs and robust connections to Asia, ensuring efficient delivery. In 2020, the Asia to North America route became the world’s busiest trade lane, handling 26.9% of freight, further underscoring LAX’s remarkable positioning. Dimerco acknowledges the importance of LAX and actively maintains a strong presence in the area to strengthen connections with Asia.

10. Narita International Airport (NRT) :

As Japan’s largest cargo hub, NRT connects the island nation to the world. From high-tech goods like robotics to traditional exports like sake, NRT plays a vital role in both imports and exports, supporting the country’s economic growth and international trade. NRT boasts a prime location in the Asia-Pacific region, offering convenient connections to major trade hubs across Asia and beyond.


These are just the top 10; countless other airports play crucial roles in the global air cargo network. Each has its unique story, contributing to the smooth flow of goods across borders. As e-commerce continues to boom and globalization deepens, these giants will undoubtedly see even more action in the years to come, solidifying their positions as some of the busiest cargo airports in the world.

Top Airports by Air Cargo MapData collected by ACI, last update as of July 19, 2023



Rely on Air Freight Experts

Freighters play a key role in air cargo: while only 8 percent of commercial jet aircraft are freighters, they carry 54 percent of air cargo traffic.

Freight forwarders are your secret weapon. Their in-depth knowledge of the air cargo landscape, including intricate regulations, customs procedures, and hub specializations, can save you time, money, and headaches. They can negotiate competitive rates, navigate complex paperwork, and ensure your shipment complies with all regulations, avoiding costly delays.

Dimerco’s long term relationship with Cathay, China Airline, EVA Air, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines ensures broad capacity and global reach for your air freight requirements. Dimerco also has a proven track record of success in air freight, particularly for tech products and critical shipments. Here are a few examples of how we have helped clients:


  • High-demand consumer electronics: One of the world’s largest technology companies needs to ship products from China to the US and have them arrive at the destination warehouse within 24 of touchdown in the US.  Dimerco makes it happen. Watch the video.
  • Fast fashion: When demand for space on air freighters to the US far exceeded the supply in Vietnam. One high-end women’s apparel company leaned on Dimerco to shift the origin airport from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok, Thailand to secure reliable air freight capacity in order to move goods in time for the selling season. Dimerco trucked goods to Bangkok. Read more.
  • Semiconductor: When lack of a key component threatened to bring the manufacturing line down at a high-volume semiconductor manufacturing plant, Dimerco executed this emergency shipment, preventing suspension of production an avoiding a 6-figure revenue loss.  Read more.
  • Charter service: A leading notebook brand needed critical cargo delivered within a tight timeframe during the pandemic. Dimerco coordinated over 40 successful passenger and cargo charters to meet their committed deadlines.


By partnering with a reputable freight forwarder like Dimerco, you can navigate the intricacies of air cargo with confidence, ensuring your shipments reach their destination efficiently and cost-effectively. To discuss how Dimerco can help manage your time-critical air freight, contact one of our international shipping specialists to start a discussion.