Freight 101 Blog

Top 15 Busiest & Largest Cargo Airports in the World

Discover the top 15 busiest and largest cargo airports around the world. Explore the scale, strategic significance & unique features – read more with Freightos.

Jude Abraham

The Importance of Cargo Transportation

Air cargo transportation is integral to the functioning of the global supply chain, and plays a crucial role in facilitating the efficient movement of goods across international borders. Its importance lies in its capacity to ensure the timely delivery of products, thereby minimizing transit times and enabling businesses to meet the demands of a dynamic and fast-paced global marketplace. This mode of transportation is particularly indispensable for industries dealing with perishable and time-sensitive commodities.

The global landscape of air cargo traffic underwent significant shifts in 2022, marked by a notable 6.7% year-over-year decrease in volumes, equating to nearly 117 million metric tonnes, as demand for air cargo cooled relative to the surge in shipments seen during the height of the pandemic. The concentration of air cargo traffic, though, remained pronounced among key international airports, with the top 20 collectively accounting for approximately 42% or 49.5 million metric tonnes of global volumes.

As we delve into the specifics of the busiest cargo airports globally, it becomes evident that these aviation hubs play a critical role in shaping the dynamics of air freight. The emphasis lies in not only identifying but also profiling these airports, shedding light on their operational scale and overarching significance in the global logistics ecosystem.

List of 15 Busiest Cargo Airports

AirportCargo (Metric Tonnes)
ANC (Anchorage)3.4M
LAX (Los Angeles)2.8M
MEM (Memphis)4M
MIA (Miami)2.4M
ORD (Chicago)2.2M
SDF (Louisville)3M
JFK (New York)1.30M
CDG (Paris)1.9M
LHR (London)1.55M
FRA (Frankfurt)1.96M
DXB (Dubai)1.72M
SIN (Singapore)1.86M
PVG (Shanghai)3.11M
NRT (Tokyo)2.39M
HKG (Hong Kong)4.1M
Data collected by ACI, as of July 19, 2023

Ready to get your freight moving?

Insights into the Busiest Cargo Airports in the US

Among the airports in the United States, a select few stand out as key players in air cargo transportation. From powering the operations of international shipping giants to strategically positioning themselves as hubs, these airports play a pivotal role in shaping the efficiency of the global supply chain. 

Memphis International Airport (MEM): Global Hub for FedEx Express

Memphis International Airport, situated in Tennessee, holds a paramount position as the global hub for FedEx Express. As one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, FedEx’s operations at MEM are instrumental in connecting shipments to destinations across the globe. The airport’s strategic role in facilitating international trade makes it a key player in the global supply chain, particularly for express cargo.

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC): Strategic Cargo Hub for Trans-Pacific Traffic

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska serves as a critical hub for air cargo traffic between North America and Asia. Its unique geographical location makes it an indispensable refueling and cargo transfer point for international freight. Anchorage’s significance in the global context lies in its role as a strategic link facilitating the smooth flow of goods between the continents, contributing to the efficiency of trans-Pacific logistics.

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF): Home to UPS Worldport

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, located in Kentucky, is home to the Worldport facility of UPS Airlines. As one of the largest cargo hubs globally, UPS Worldport plays a central role in UPS’s extensive global cargo operations. SDF’s significance lies in its function as a key distribution center, efficiently handling and transferring a substantial volume of air cargo, thus contributing significantly to the global supply chain.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Gateway for U.S.- Asia Trade

Los Angeles International Airport, a major passenger hub, also holds considerable significance in the realm of cargo traffic. Its proximity to the Pacific Rim makes LAX a crucial gateway for trade between the United States and Asia. Handling a substantial volume of air cargo, LAX’s role extends beyond domestic logistics, playing a vital part in connecting businesses and facilitating international trade.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD): Central Hub for Global Transportation

Chicago O’Hare International Airport stands as a major transportation hub, both for passenger and cargo traffic. Positioned centrally in the United States, ORD plays a vital role in global cargo transportation. Its extensive connectivity and strategic location make it a key player in facilitating the movement of goods worldwide. O’Hare’s significance lies in its ability to handle large volumes of cargo and contribute to the efficiency of the global supply chain.

Cargo Transportation Innovation and Infrastructure

The landscape of cargo transportation is undergoing a transformative shift, propelled by innovative technologies and infrastructure developments that are reshaping the efficiency of cargo airports. 

The integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as automated handling systems, artificial intelligence, and real-time tracking solutions, is streamlining cargo processes and enhancing overall operational efficiency. These advancements not only optimize cargo handling and tracking but also contribute to minimizing delays and improving the accuracy of logistics operations.

Infrastructure developments play a crucial role in bolstering the efficiency of cargo airports. Modernized runways, state-of-the-art cargo terminals, and advanced warehousing facilities are key components of an effective cargo transportation ecosystem. The strategic layout and design of cargo facilities are being revamped to accommodate the increasing demand for streamlined operations, enabling airports to handle larger volumes of cargo with greater speed and precision.

Moreover, the implementation of sustainable practices and eco-friendly technologies is becoming integral to cargo airport operations. From green energy initiatives to the utilization of electric ground vehicles, the industry is embracing environmentally conscious solutions to reduce its carbon footprint.

Discover Air Freight Services from Freightos

There’s a lot to consider before booking a shipment, including protection and restrictions. Knowing these terms helps enhance efficiency so there are no delays due to withheld products and cargo. To read more about whether or not your product is airworthy, and staying up to date on IATA and carrier restrictions, click here

For those seeking comprehensive air freight services, Freightos stands as the gateway to a seamless and efficient logistics experience. You can check out more air freight resources here

Ready to Simplify Your Shipping?

Get free quotes and make a booking in a few clicks

Get a demo of’s Enterprise Shipper capabilities helps you spend less time and money on each shipment, reducing spend with better:

  • Improved selection across price, mode, vendor, performance metrics on each shipment
  • Reduced management time with on-demand documentat management and tracking
  • Real-time service through automated services, real-time chat, and integrated messaging options
  • Powerful payment options, including credit, batch processing, reconcilations and more.

Complete this form to request a free demo

Back to top