LAX Cargo

LAX is the fifth busiest airport in the world, second in the United States in terms of commercial passenger volumes, serving more than 87.5 million passengers in 2018. LAX ranks 13th in the world and fourth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed. LAX handled 707,833 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2018.

Air Cargo Operations, Calendar Year 2018

LAX continued its 10-year trend for increasing cargo volumes. Total air cargo at LAX increased by 2.37% in calendar year 2018 as compared to calendar year 2017. Freight volumes increased by 56,565 tons, while mail volumes were relatively flat – up by just 98 tons over last year. Domestic cargo declined by 24,253 tons or -2.66% while and international cargo was up by 80,914 tons or 5.48% over last year. Federal Express continues to be the dominant airfreight carrier accounting for 15.7% of total freight cargo, followed by both American Airlines and Delta Airlines with 4.9% each. American Airlines was also the top mail carrier accounting for 22.5% of total mail cargo.

LAX Air Cargo (in US Tons)

Bar Chart

A majority of the more than 1,930 daily flights that fly through LAX carry at least some cargo. In addition to air cargo transported in passenger aircraft, more than 30 dedicated-cargo airlines operate at LAX.

An economic study based on 2014 operations reported LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital-improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion, $966 million in state and local taxes, and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues. 

Los Angeles US Customs District Ranked #1
Los Angeles International Airport is a key transportation center for one of the world’s most dynamic economies. In 2017, the Los Angeles U.S. Customs District again ranked #1 among the nation’s 46 districts with two-way international trade valued at a record $431.38 billion. LAX alone was responsible for nearly $114.4 billion in exports and imports. See LA Trade Numbers for more information. 

The Southern California region accounts for a majority of the state’s multi-billion dollars in international trade. Many of the largest industrial companies headquartered in the state are located in the greater Los Angeles area. Los Angeles is a leading high-technology center for the nation in the entertainment, electronics, biomedical, computers, and aerospace industries. 

The convenience and efficiency of LAX as a major distribution center for air cargo is supported by the ready availability of vital allied services, especially for Pacific Rim traders. The LA-area cargo trade also engages more than 800 freight forwarders and 360 customs house brokers, who are in the LA area to expedite the region’s air cargo delivery. U.S. banks with international operations have offices in Los Angeles, as do foreign banking institutions. 

LAX ranks second for exports among U.S. airports 
When it comes to U.S. exports, Los Angeles International plays a critical role in the nation’s trade with the world. 

LAX ranks second nationally among all U.S. airports for the value of its trade. It ranks ninth when you include all of the more than 450 airports, seaports and border crossings in the United States. 

While it ranks second for value among airports, it ranks sixth by weight, or tonnage, of those exports. What that means is that LAX is exporting cargo that is particularly lightweight and high value, when compared to other airports. 

A look at those top 10 exports bears that out. On the top 10 list are products like computer chips, diamonds, gold and photo-sensitive semi-conductors. All are highly valuable and relatively lightweight. 

Because it ranks second by value among all U.S. airports it is not surprising that LAX is a national leader for among many exports. 

Among LAX’s top 10 exports to the world, it ranks first nationally for three. That is including not only airports but also seaports and border crossings. It ranks second nationally for four of its top 10. With the remainder, it ranks in the top 10 nationally, , according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed for the website. 

It ranks first nationally for computer chip exports, which also happens to be the most valuable export leaving LAX. About 15 percent of the nation’s computer chip exports leave from LAX. 

It also ranks first nationally for photo-sensitive semi-conductors and parts, with 17 percent of the U.S. total. That is LAX’s ninth most valuable exports. 

The third export where LAX ranks first nationally is its 10th most valuable export, miscellaneous chemical re-agents. LAX accounts for 16 percent of the nation’s total. 

LAX ranks second nationally for four of its top exports. 

It ranks second for diamonds, trailing only JFK International, and accounting for 26 percent of the U.S. total. Diamonds are LAX’s third most valuable export. 

LAX ranks second for gold exports, again ranking second to JFK, with 16 percent of the total. That is LAX’s fourth most valuable export. 

With LAX’s fifth most valuable export, computers, it also ranks second nationally, with 9.5 percent of the total. Here, it trails not an airport but a border crossing, Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge, which crosses into Canada. 

Finally, it ranks second nationally in a broad category, medical instruments. It is second to Chicago’s O’Hare, with 8.56 percent of the total U.S. exports Medical instruments rank as the airport’s sixth most valuable export. 

Through August, the top eight exports each topped more than $1 billion in value, with the top three valued at more than $3 billion. 

The other top 10 exports from LAX this year are No. 2-ranked civilian aircraft and parts, where LAX ranks 10th nationally; fourth for No. 7 machinery and parts used in semiconductor manufacturing, with 12 percent; and sixth for cell phones, with 6.2 percent of the nation’s total. 

LAX trade is also balanced, with 49 percent exports and 51 percent imports.

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