Modernizing Air Cargo Operations in U.S. Airports

Air cargo contributes about 35 percent to the total value of the world’s cargo activity, making it a vital part of the supply chain. With the continued growth in e-commerce, spurred by the pandemic, many airports are experiencing increased cargo activity, including those that had limited or no cargo activity previously. Yet air cargo facilities, supporting infrastructure, and operations at many of the nation’s airports are inadequate and inefficient. For example, cargo buildings are often insufficiently sized and have columns and small doors; cargo handling typically still relies on manual labor; and cargo tracking often includes paper waybills. Customers choose air shipment because of its implied expediency, yet these inefficiencies impact delivery times and reliability. Inefficiencies also potentially lead to higher costs, pollution and congestion from trucks, and safety issues. ACRP Report 143: Guidebook for Air Cargo Facility Planning and Development provides important guidelines for cargo facility development; additional research is needed to refine these guidelines and provide recommended practices for air cargo operations and handing.   The objective of this research is to develop a manual of best practices for developing and operating air cargo facilities. The manual should be focused on helping airports and their air cargo partners be ready for the anticipated changes in technologies, practices, and customer demand for the next 20 to 30 years.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $235000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-63

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Navarrete, Joseph

  • Start Date: 20230904
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01748069
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-63
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 18 2020 10:02AM