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Mayor Emanuel and the Department of Aviation announced today that through the first six months of 2014, air cargo volume at O’Hare International Airport has grown by 8.5 percent compared to the same time period in 2013. In June 2014 alone, O’Hare’s cargo tonnage increased by 11 percent over the same month in 2013. With over 738,500 tons of cargo handled for the first half of 2014, O’Hare is on track to reach approximately 1.5 million tons for the year.
“O'Hare is one of our City's key economic engines and cargo is a significant component of operations at O’Hare, keeping it competitive in the global marketplace and ensuring Chicago’s position as a global transportation and cargo leader both now and into the future. Due to work by the Department of Aviation to strengthen the capacity and efficiency of O’Hare’s airport cargo operations we are now able to better serve existing cargo carriers and attract new cargo service, today we are beginning to see the dividends of those efforts,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Nearly 30 freighter carriers currently serve O’Hare, including many of the largest cargo carriers from China, Europe and the Middle East. In fact, Chicago is the leading national gateway for air exports to China, representing more than 25 percent of the entire market. In addition, many of the passenger carriers that serve O’Hare carry cargo in the belly of their aircraft. With about $115 billion worth of freight handled annually, O’Hare ranks second among all U.S. airports for the monetary value of its air cargo.
“Air cargo creates billions of dollars in economic activity and supports thousands of jobs in the Chicago region,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). “With the added capacity created from the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) and the development of new cargo facilities at the airport, O’Hare is set to be one of the world’s leading hubs for air cargo.”
The increase in cargo activity at O’Hare is also due to the fact that many cargo carriers that operate to and from O’Hare, such as China, have strong or growing economies. Chicago’s central geographic location and a mature multi-modal transportation network make it an attractive place to ship and receive cargo for businesses.