New Orleans Customs District Port, Louisiana-Air Freight Gateway

New Orleans Customs District Port, Louisiana-Air Freight Gateway

New Orleans Customs District Port ranked fifth among all U.S. international air freight gateways by value of shipments in 2008. It was the 17th leading gateway by value among all air, land, and sea freight gateways.

International air merchandise trade moving through the New Orleans Customs District Port has two components: air trade through Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans and merchandise shipped by FedEx facilities located at Memphis International Airport in Tennessee. The Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau combines operations at FedEx's Memphis hub and the Louis Armstrong International Airport to form the New Orleans Customs District Port because FedEx's export and import paperwork is filed in New Orleans. As a result of this adjustment, it is not possible to separate the value of air cargo passing through the New Orleans Customs District Port into the portion handled by FedEx at Memphis and that handled by Louis Armstrong International Airport.

In 2008, more than 6 percent of the value of U.S. international air merchandise moved through the New Orleans Customs District Port (table 1). About $50 billion worth of merchandise trade passed through New Orleans, an increase of 9 percent from $46 billion in 2007. Exports increased about 8 percent, and imports increased 9 percent (USDOC CB 2009b).1 By weight, the New Orleans Customs Port ranked sixth among all air gateways, handling 4 percent of U.S. international air merchandise.2 It handled about 384,000 tons of international air cargo in 2008, almost the same as the tonnage in 2007 (table 2).3

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics air freight tonnage data show that international air cargo moved by FedEx through Memphis International Airport (383,600 short tons) in 2008 accounted for nearly all (more than 99 percent) of the total tonnage (384,000 short tons) moved through the New Orleans Customs gateway. If considered separately, Memphis International Airport would be one of the largest international air freight gateways in the United States (ranked 21st among U.S. international airports by value in 2008). But it is not listed among the top 25 freight gateways profiled in this report because the value of its FedEx operation is added to that of the New Orleans Customs District Port.

The FedEx facility at Memphis International Airport is a major hub for air trade with the nation's NAFTA partners-Canada and Mexico-and with Europe. In terms of merchandise goods transported on nonstop international flight segments, Canada, Mexico, and Germany were the top three origins and destinations (table 3). The major city segments were Paris, Toronto, and Frankfurt (table 4). The top origin and destination markets for international air cargo handled at Memphis were the same countries as those on nonstop international flight segments.4

1 The 2007 data used in this comparison are not presented in table 1. The data are available online in the gateways database at www.bts.gov.

2 Ranking of air gateways by weight is available in table 9 of this report's overview section.

3 Weight information is based on Form 41 International Market Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of Airline Information.

4 This information is based on Form 41 International Market Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of Airline Information. Origin-destination airport-pair data by value are not available from the merchandise trade data. See box 2, page 15, for further discussion of the segment and market data.