Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has seen cargo volumes fall by 1.8 per cent in the first three months of 2015 to 385,842 tonnes, because of a slowdown in China.
The airport says that this is the first quarterly fall for two years. January saw a year-on-year (YOY) fall of 2.3 per cent to 120,267 tonnes. February saw a YOY increase of 2.1 per cent to 125,979 tonnes. March saw the largest YOY fall, of 4.7 per cent to 139,596 tonnes.
Schiphol senior vice president for cargo, Enno Osinga, says: “The results are disappointing, but not unexpected, and not confined to Schiphol alone. China is our single largest market … so the slowing of its economy and manufacturing output are inevitably very visible in our traffic figures.”
Asia, as a share of the first quarter, fell to 36.5 per cent, but remained the largest area. North America remained in second, at 18.9 per cent, up 4.4 per cent on the first quarter of 2014. The Middle East fell by 1.5 per cent to 13.8 per cent of the total. Africa increased by 0.7 per cent to 11.7 per cent and Latin America rose by 1.9 per cent to 11.2 per cent. Europe fell by 16 per cent compared to the same period of 2014 to eight per cent.
Osinga explains: “Europe’s weaker tonnages are explained by the impact of flower traffic of falling Russian demand around Valentine’s Day and Women’s Day, caused by their currency weakness. The Europe figures additionally include transshipments to China, which are also affected by the cooling of Chinese trade.”
In February, Schiphol opened a new taxiway between the Kaag runway and the Sierra cargo zone. It says the development halves live runway crossings. The airport says that freighters can now land and taxi direct to the Sierra cargo area from the end of the runway without having to route back along the original taxiway and then wait for clearance to cross the live runway.
In 2014, Schiphol was Europe’s third busiest by volume, handling 1.6 million tonnes.