MIA saw an 8.3 percent increase in domestic freight and 3.7 percent growth in international cargo compared with the same 2016 period, leading to 4.8 percent growth overall.
During the first half of the year, cargo tonnage on Middle East carriers skyrocketed 114 percent year-over-year, while freight on European and Asian carriers rose 11.7 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Traffic on Latin American and Caribbean carriers increased 2.7 percent overall, but cargo on Mexican carriers alone rose 308 percent during the six-month period, the airport said, attributing the huge leap to the addition of Mexican airline AeroUnion.
Other increases in cargo tonnage were also partially attributed to several new freighter airlines coming to MIA, including Qatar Airways. In addition, the airport also undertook a number of significant security and infrastructure improvements for the purpose of ensuring that cargo shipments are handled properly.
In 2016, MIA diversified its cargo business with Florida’s first-ever ocean-to-air perishables transshipment program, which allows the airport to receive perishable freight imports by sea, to then be moved by air.
Also, in 2015, Miami International became the first airport in the U.S., and the second in the world, to be certified as a pharmaceutical freight hub by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This led pharma volumes at the airport to jump 48 percent in value year-over-year to $4.4 billion in 2016.
Other plans MIA said it has in the pipeline include a Foreign Trade Zone magnet site designation, which would allow a variety of manufacturers to lease vacant property at the airport and have their tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated; and the first phase of MIA’s Cargo Optimization, Redevelopment and Expansion (CORE) Program, a plan to renovate the airport’s cargo infrastructure and double its capacity.