Record tonnage year for Amsterdam Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol ended 2016 with a record as it handled 1.66 million tonnes, up 2.5 per cent on 2015.

Europe’s third largest air cargo hub had a strong end to the year, with December figures up 10.4 per cent on the same month in 2015 at 149,000 tonnes. Cargo until November was up 1.8 per cent year-on-year, with figures for January to November 1.51 million tonnes.

Cargo director, Jonas van Stekelenburg (pictured below) says: “We have launched a number of initiatives to enhance the experience of our pharmaceutical, e-commerce, and perishables customers, and our continued commitment to quality is having positive results.

“We had a strong start to 2016 due to several new carriers making use of Schiphol, and expansion by existing players, and there was an increase in traffic levels in the second half of the year resulting in a total tonnage that surpassed our expectations – an all-time record of 1.66 million tonnes of cargo.”

Asia remains Schiphol’s largest market, with Shanghai, China, the busiest destination, and new direct flights launched to Xi’an and Ningbo, both in China.


“The upswing in e-commerce shipments, both inbound and outbound, were a large contributor to the cargo volumes for this market,” says van Stekelenburg.

“As a large number of flights now transit Europe en route to China, we can attribute a proportion of the growth in our European figures to the developing Asian market.”

Fewer direct flights to Asia meant final figures for the region were down five per cent inbound and seven per cent outbound to 290,313 tonnes and 290,560 tonnes respectively. Flights to Asia transiting European destinations including Baku, Azerbaijan, and Moscow, Russia, increased, however, resulting in a strong overall result for Asia cargo through the hub.

A proportion of Europe’s growth of 74 per cent to 104,061 tonnes outbound, and 42 per cent to 105,736 tonnes inbound was therefore down to cargo transiting to and from Asia.

Africa inbound volume grew two per cent to 117,556 tonnes because of increased freighter capacity serving the perishables market. Outbound volumes to Africa were 11 per cent down at 54,684 tonnes.

Middle East tonnage was up five per cent to 94,607 tonnes, with outbound tonnage remaining at 120,111 tonnes.

Cargo transiting Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - a record 1.66 million tonnes of cargo was flown through the European hub in 2016_01

Latin America inbound cargo was up 11 per cent at 101,706 tonnes because of a boost in flower imports from Quito, Ecuador. Outbound cargo saw a downtick of 12 per cent at 75,125 tonnes, reflecting decreased capacity on routes to Miami, USA, and South America.

Exports from North America were down one per cent to 157,621 tonnes year-on-year because of decrease in belly volume, whilst North America import volume was up two per cent at 150,172 tonnes because of an increase in flights from the USA into Europe.

“The outlook for 2017 – as we see even more air traffic growth – is positive; we are very encouraged by last year’s results,” says van Stekelenburg.

“Close collaboration with our cargo community remains a strong focus for 2017. Together with the community we will continue to pursue ambitions such as better digital information exchange and further quality improvements in the supply chain, particularly for pharma, e-commerce and perishables,” he adds.

Schiphol has launched several initiatives aimed at supporting the growth of e-commerce, pharmaceutical, and perishables sectors such as the Pharma Gateway Amsterdam initiative, launched in 2016.

A new e-commerce same-day delivery service, called 12send, went operational in December and the Holland Flower Alliance, a collaboration between RoyalFlora Holland, KLM Cargo, and Schiphol Cargo.