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After struggling to find consistent growth, air cargo traffic posted impressive gains in 2017

  • ​In a major change of long-term trends, air cargo traffic at the area’s major logistics hubs posted rapid growth in 2017. E-commerce related carriers at BWI have driven the rolling 12-month average volume up an unprecedented 31.3%,  while Dulles recovered from a period of depressed activity.

  • To accommodate the rapid growth, Maryland spent roughly $12 million in capital improvements for cargo operations, including three new aircraft parking positions and additional infrastructure. Despite BWI’s rapid growth in 2017, however, air cargo traffic is still approximately two-thirds of Dulles’ activity.

  • While not as drastic as BWI, Dulles traffic posted its best numbers since 2010, while the rolling 12-month growth rate exceeded 10%. Unlike BWI, the majority of cargo at Dulles comes from international carriers, and growth in cargo volume has gone hand-in-hand with increased international passenger service.

  • Sustained growth at the region’s air freight hubs will help fuel additional net new demand from logistics firms. The trend is a bright spot particularly for Northern Virginia’s Dulles Corridor, where warehouse annual warehouse net absorption has averaged 150,000 s.f. the past the 2 years, well below the long-term average of 270,000 s.f.​

Source: JLL Research, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, ​

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