Analysing Florida’s role in air cargo

Florida is important in all aspects of logisitcs

Reviews of international trade and logistics often place an emphasis on the importance of Florida’s deepwater seaports, shipping lanes and oceanic routes. However, true analysis of international trade and logistics must take into account the vital role that Florida’s airports play in the movement of cargo. Every day, thousands of tons of cargo arrive at Florida airports on their way to destinations across the U.S. and around the world. It’s the wide-spread role of air cargo that we examine in this week’s Florida Chamber Foundation Scorecard Stat.

According to the Federal Aviation Authority, more than 132 billion pounds of domestic and international cargo arrived at U.S. airports in 2012. The airport with the largest volume of air cargo was Memphis International, which serves as the major hub for all Federal Express (FedEx) shipments. Following Memphis, the top four airports are Anchorage International, Louisville International and Florida’s own Miami International. Collectively, these top four airports bring in more than $55 billion pounds of air cargo – comprising more than 40 percent of the total market.

Florida’s air cargo share is fourth in the United States, with more than 11 percent of the total U.S. tonnage – representing 2.5 million tons of cargo – each year. With approximately 4,700 tons in average daily capacity, Miami International Airport takes in more than 80 percent of Florida’s air cargo. This has a significant and direct economic impact on Florida’s economy and job market across all industries and sectors.

Did you know: Every day, approximately 32,000 boxes of fresh cut flowers arrive at Miami International Airport, most arriving from Colombia and Ecuador?

Air cargo means more than just growth for airlines. Florida is home to 60,000 businesses involved in exporting – one in five of all U.S. businesses that export, which collectively export more than $66 billion in Florida-origin goods every year. This business activity supports more than 500,000 jobs in transportation, trade and logistics. Export-oriented companies typically grow 15 percent faster, pay 15 percent higher wages and are 12 percent more profitable than firms operating solely in the U.S. market. An effective and expanding air cargo system will mean more opportunities for companies in Florida to get goods to and from places like Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and fast-developing economies in Asia.

The interrelated nature of air cargo reaches across all of Florida’s transportation system. Florida’s DOT Air Cargo System Plan provides detailed explanations of how integrated systems, such as surface transportation, are mandatory to create and maintain operations throughout the state.

“The importance of effective air cargo systems cannot be understated for Florida’s economy,” said Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport. “Florida is the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean and we must possess diverse modes of transit. Our economy and our future will be positively impacted by effective intermodal logistics, and it is essential air cargo be a major element. This is why Tampa International Airport joined the Florida Chamber Foundation in its recently released Made for Trade: Florida Trade and Logistics Study 2.0 research project to ensure we aggressively pursue positive strategies for further developing our trade and logistics system.”

The future prospects of Florida’s air cargo system and the importance of air cargo to Florida’s overall economic engine were just recently stressed in an Air Cargo Magazine article.

Securing Florida’s future begins with free enterprise. A healthy free enterprise system necessitates that the business community unite behind practical, workable and sound strategies to address the needs of our state now and 20 years from now. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida Chamber Foundation believe in a Florida economy that supports and grows high-wage, private-sector jobs.

Be sure to save the date now for the 2014 Future of Florida Forum on September 29 – October 1, during which you can join conversations with experts on the future of Florida’s trade and logistics initiatives. If you’d like to get involved earlier, join us at one of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s statewide summits on throughout the state to engage business community leaders and policy makers on the Made for Trade: Florida Trade and Logistics Study 2.0.