The Mid-America Freight Coalition (MAFC) region plays an integral role in the freight infrastructure of the United States and the world. In 2010, total freight movement originating or terminating in the MAFC region was valued at almost $5 trillion; air cargo shipments account for $155 billion of this total. This represents almost 31 percent of all U.S. freight movements and 16 percent of air cargo movements. Freight movement in the region is expected to grow on par with the rest of the United States through 2040. In this same period, air cargo in the MAFC region is projected to grow by 4.9 percent compared to 3.2 percent for all modes.
Much of the study of freight movement in this region focuses on highway, rail, and maritime freight. Air cargo is a less-studied yet critical component of freight infrastructure in the MAFC region.
Researchers from CFIRE and the Texas Transportation Institute recently completed a project that provides an overview of air cargo transportation in the MAFC region, including the industry’s recent history, security implications, an integration within the greater regional economy. The project team created an inventory of air cargo facilities in this region, including airports, air cargo screening facilities, and foreign trade zones.
Researchers also analyzed air cargo activity by weight, value, and commodity for the entire region, for each of the ten states, and for individual airports.
The project team identified the major markets of the air cargo industry the MAFC region: Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; and, Louisville, Kentucky. Researchers also considered how smaller general aviation airports function in the regional air cargo industry and how they support economic development in their communities.
As a result of these analyses, researchers were able to make a number of recommendations for airport planners and decision-makers. First, they should use the results of this study to understand the air cargo industry in the region and how it is near maturity. Second, planners and decision-makers should use the same publicly available data sets used in the study in their decision-making process. And finally, the research team recommends that smaller airports include the airport fixed-base operator (FBO) in this process.
For more information about this project and to read the final report visit the CFIRE 04-11 project page.