Miami International Airport cargo up despite rising costs
By Lou Ortiz
Fuel and security surcharges failed to dampen cargo business in 2007 at Miami International Airport, with foreign cargo loads up nearly 6% from the prior year.
Imports totaled 1,776,069 tons through December, up 5.88% over 2006, Miami-Dade Aviation Department statistics show.
Domestically, the airport handled 300,829 tons in 2007, 0.82% above the prior year.
"I'm very pleased in all sectors," said Bunny Schreiber, an aviation cargo specialist at the county department.
"Everybody is talking about a recession," she said. "Our trade is not suffering. If we can see a steady increase of 5% a year, I think we're doing wonderfully."
Ms. Schreiber said the airport has more imports from Asia and continued growth from Latin America.
Roger Madan, president of Air Marine Forwarding, said the surcharges have caused airfreight costs to double, if not triple. "The thing is, the planes were flying pretty full [in 2007], which defies the logic."
For example, he said, a few years ago it cost 55 cents, plus 25 cents in fuel and security surcharges, to ship a kilo of airfreight to or from Costa Rica. Those surcharges are now $1 per kilo, he said.
Mr. Madan said the airport tries to meet the needs of cargo transporters. One way is through a new viaduct over Northwest 25th Street to allow cargo trucks direct access between the airport and the Palmetto Expressway, without having to travel roads crowded with local traffic.
Also, the airport has poured $500 million into its Cargo Development Program, which added 15 cargo buildings, increasing cargo warehouse space from 1.4 million square feet to about 2.7 million.
Miami tops all US airports in international cargo and is fourth in total cargo.