Here’s the latest ranking of the world’s biggest cargo airports. Also, discover the leading cargo airports according to handled freight tonnes — based on the latest ICAO data from 2021.

The World's Biggest Cargo Airports — 2021 Edition

After publishing many posts about the biggest airlines and airports, we decided to take a closer look at cargo operations. Et voila, here’s the ultimate ranking of the largest cargo airports. Therefore, we’ve crunched the latest ICAO data and analyzed the freight volumes of dozens of airports. Here are the results:

Contents
The World’s Top 3 Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021
The World’s Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021 — Complete Ranking
The World’s Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021 — Detailed Data

The World’s Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021 — Top 3

#1 – Hong Kong (HKG)

For years, Hong Kong Airport (HKG) has been one of the world’s major cargo hubs. Within the analyzed period from January to May 2021, HKG operated almost 1.9 million cargo tonnes. Moreover, Hong Kong Airport ranked as the world’s biggest cargo airport in three of the analyzed five months. However, since Hong Kong is still massively impacted by COVID-19, the airport lost the title of the world’s biggest cargo airport in March and April to Memphis.

Hong Kong HKG - #1 World's Biggest Cargo Airports
Hong Kong Airport – Source Wikimedia

#2 – Memphis (MEM)

Although Memphis is rather small in passenger traffic (~2,0 million passengers annually), the airport plays an important role in cargo. As a result, the Memphis Airport won the world’s biggest airport title in March and April 2021. Moreover, from January to May 2021, Memphis Airport handled 1.853 million tonnes of cargo — only 43,000 less than Hong Kong as the world’s biggest cargo airport.

Memphis - #2 World's Biggest Cargo Airports
Memphis Airport – Source Wikimedia

#3 – Shanghai (PVG)

Shanghai’s Pudong Airport (PVG) ranked 3rd among the world’s biggest cargo airports during the entire observed period. Moreover, with 1.747 million cargo tonnes, Shanghai can be considered the third mega cargo airport operating more than 1.5 million cargo tons in 2021.

Shanghai - #3 World's Biggest Cargo Airports
Shanghai Pudong Airport – Source: Wikimedia

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The World’s Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021 — Complete Ranking

Contrary to many other airline and airport rankings, COVID-19 does not severely impact the ranking of the world’s biggest cargo airports. Compared to similar lists from 2019, the current ranking contains almost the same airports.

With six airports from the United States (Memphis, Anchorage, Louisville, Los Angeles, and Miami) and five from Asia (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Incheon, Taipei, and Tokyo), the cargo hotspots are clearly defined. However, with Frankfurt as the sole representative, Europe plays no important role among the top cargo airports. Moreover, Doha and Dubai, two airports from the Middle East region, complete the ranking of the world’s biggest cargo airports.

RankIATAAirportCountryFreight Tonnes (mil.)
Jan – May ’21
1HKGHong Kong1.896
2MEMMemphis1.853
3PVGShanghai1.747
4ANCAnchorage1.419
5INCIncheon1.323
6SDFLouisville1.119
7TPETaipei1.113
8DOHDoha1.074
9LAXLos Angeles1.050
10NRTTokyo Narita1.036
11ORDChicago1.022
12MIAMiami1.009
13DXBDubai0.936
14FRAFrankfurt0.935
The World’s Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021

The World’s Biggest Cargo Airports in 2021 — Detailed Data

Here are some more details about the world’s biggest cargo airports.

Monthly Performance

Top 5 Cargo Airports

World's Top 5 Cargo Airports - Freight Tonnes - January-May 2021
World’s Top 5 Cargo Airport – Freight Tonnes – January-May 2021

Top 6 – 10 Cargo Airports

World's Top 6-10 Cargo Airports - Freight Tonnes - January-May 2021
World’s Top 6-10 Cargo Airport – Freight Tonnes – January-May 2021

Top 11 – 14 Cargo Airports

World's Top 11-14 Cargo Airports - Freight Tonnes - January-May 2021
World’s Top 11-14 Cargo Airport – Freight Tonnes – January-May 2021

Monthly Data

AirportJanFebMarAprMay
HKG407.000307,000394,000386,000402,000
MEM393,332289,000397,589394,102379,670
PVG352,240286,000377,119369,348362,471
ANC284,232231,000304,891296,747302,574
INC255,867233,000282,428274,906277,298
SDF212,893194,454241,465240,047230,236
TPE222,502192,617247,769233,926216,228
DOH201,250198,862232,193222,339219,492
LAX193,063181,665230,439218,740226,487
NRT192,395187,149234,129217,540205,340
ORD159,025187,443234,043229,189213,039
MIA186,198179,964211,027223,015209,438
DXB175,621168,085207,104198,251186,971
FRA169,067173,906200,751194,942197,022
World’s Biggest Airports – Monthly Freight Tonne – January – May 2021

Used Data

The shown information is based on ICAO data and internal data sources. 

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Benjamin is a content-maniac, music-lover, aviation-enthusiast, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions to change the way airlines, airports, and aviators use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry and working with renowned airlines + airports worldwide.

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