Report finds $109bn of trade ‘flying under the radar’

Report finds $109bn of trade ‘flying under the radar’

A new report by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and BIS Oxford Economics’ shows the goods travelling in the belly of international aircraft arriving and departing Australia are worth a massive $109 billion annually.

The 2019 International Airfreight Indicator, the latest report in Infrastructure Partnerships Australia’s data and measurement series, reveals that one in every five dollars of Australia’s traded goods travels via air.

“Every day, more than 550 international flights arrive and depart Australia, yet until now, we have been remarkably blind to the value, the type of commodity, and the economic contribution of goods that travel in the belly of these aircraft,” said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Adrian Dwyer.

“The 2019 International Airfreight Indicator shines a light on a multi-billion industry that has historically gone unnoticed in our broader trade debate.

“The indicator shows that airports are crucial to our trade story, and the cargo transported beneath passengers is vitally important to airlines, airports and the Australian economy.

“Last year alone, $109 billion of international trade passed through Australia’s airports, with airfreight set to top $114 billion this financial year.

“Whilst airfreight only represents 1 per cent of Australia’s trade volume, it punches well above its weight in value.

“One in every $5 of Australia’s imports and exports travels via our airports – making the airfreight sector one of the largest value contributors to Australia’s trade position.

“In a period of heightened trade tensions and structural economic change, it’s critical that we use data like that presented in the 2019 International Airfreight Indicator to improve the way we plan, regulate and invest in our freight sector.

“Without useful data to examine and measure our freight sector we will be flying blind on our international trade.

“That is why we have called on Government to establish a dedicated freight body to independently measure and publish detailed analysis of the overall performance of our logistic and supply chain networks,” Mr Dwyer said.

Some of the findings:

  • In FY2017-18, $109 billion of international trade passed through Australia’s airports, with more than 96 per cent of international airfreight passing through the four main capital city airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
  • Whilst airfreight only represents 1 per cent of Australia’s trade volume, it represents 21 per cent of goods in trade value.
  • The amount of goods flowing in and out by air is now 70kg for every person – a 60 per cent rise in the last five years. This reached a record high over FY2017-18.
  • More than 80 percent of our airfreight is carried in passenger aircraft, with the balance carried in dedicated freight aircraft.

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