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, the airport reported. Inbound cargo volumes increased by 15.2% to 869,241 tonnes in 2021 compared to 2020, and outbound cargo volumes also rose, by 16.1% to 798,063 tonnes during the same period. The top three destinations for cargo by tonnage were Shanghai, Chicago, and Dubai.

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.

Outbound cargo to Asia 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 the region 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.

European outbound traffic increased by 17.4% to 100,246 tonnes, while inbound cargo rose 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.

According to Schiphol, the growth was due mainly to high demand and the return of sufficient slot availability.

“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.”

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