Record levels of cargo at East Midlands airport


East Midlands Airport enjoyed a record year for cargo and facilitated almost £10bn worth of goods from countries outside the EU.

The value of non-EU goods handled at the airport is four per cent up compared with the same period last year and, over the last 12 months, equates to almost £10bn* (£9.935bn).

The total amount of cargo (both EU and non-EU) that passed through EMA is also at its highest ever. In the 12 months up to March 2018, 358,477 tonnes of cargo were exported and imported through EMA, which is a 9.7% increase on the previous year.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg will visit EMA on Thursday 5 July to understand more about its potential, and to meet business leaders to discuss how the airport could better serve them with possible new international connections. She said:

“Today’s figures show that East Midlands Airport’s cargo performance continues to go from strength to strength and plays a hugely important role in boosting regional growth and investment.

“Our regional airports support the backbone of our economy – providing skilled local jobs and business export opportunities which open the UK up to the world.

“That’s why the Government will promote sustainable growth through our aviation strategy and has pledged to support all UK airports to make best use of their existing runways, as long as they address crucial economic and environmental planning issues.”

East Midlands Airport is the UK’s busiest for dedicated air cargo traffic. It is second only to Heathrow in terms of the total tonnage of cargo that passes through it annually.

Through EMA, and its connections to air cargo hubs in Europe and the USA, UK businesses export to 200 different countries around the world. Latin America, Asia, North America and the Middle East are some of the biggest regions for exports.

The types of goods that pass through EMA include:

• clothing on behalf of leading fashion brands

• Rolls Royce aero engines

• Smart phones and tablets

• pharmaceuticals

• exam papers

• production line parts

• medical equipment

EMA is also the airport of choice for Formula 1 teams through which they ship their cars and equipment to and from races around the world.

Karen Smart, EMA’s Managing Director, says:

“EMA’s cargo performance is a real success story, not just for this airport but for the region and the wider UK economy. We are now a major contributor to ensuring that the UK can compete on the global stage and trade all around the world.

“With more demand than ever for next day deliveries, we can only expect further growth especially in the e-commerce market. We need to ensure that we stay ahead of the game by improving our facilities so that more businesses can access international markets through EMA.”

The airport is home to some of the world’s biggest names in logistics, including:



• FedEx/TNT

• Royal Mail

Contributing to the increase in the volume of cargo being shipped through EMA is the doubling in size of DHL’s logistics facility at the airport - a €184M investment - and the increase in demand for e-commerce and next-day-deliveries. Work has also started on a new UPS £114m facility which is due to open late 2019.

The airport is a magnet for new complementary developments which are springing up around the airport. Most notable is the first of a number of large facilities at the SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLPEMG) and strategic rail freight interchange just to the north of the airfield.

The 700-acre development has planning consent for up to 6,000,000 sq ft of logistics accommodation. Businesses that have already committed to moving onto the site include Amazon, Nestle, Shop Direct and Kuehne+Nagel. It incorporates a 50-acre Strategic Rail Freight Interchange which includes a rail freight terminal, capable of handling up to sixteen 775m freight trains per day, container storage and HGV parking.

This site was purposely chosen for its proximity to the airport. When operational, the East Midlands Gateway will be home to the UK’s first co-located rail and air freight interchange.

Next and M&S operate their main UK distribution centres near EMA too. The airport’s central location was recently cited as reducing express logistics delivery times by 1.5 hours – an eternity in this sector. Ninety percent of England and Wales is within 4 hours truck drive time of EMA.

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, said: “East Midlands Airport has a critical role to play as Britain forges a new position for itself in the world. The Midlands’ £50 billion export economy will only continue to thrive if road and rail access to international freight gateways like East Midlands Airport is an ongoing priority.

“Midlands Connect is examining options to improve access to the airport for freight and passengers, as well as providing a link to the new HS2 East Midlands Hub station in Toton. We’re also looking at ways to accelerate the arrival of HS2 services in the East Midlands by three years to 2030. This will support earlier growth around Toton and the nearby East Midlands Gateway, which together will create tens of thousands of jobs and attract more global logistics firms to the East Midlands. Together, East Midlands Airport and Midlands Connect can deliver on ambitious growth plans which will help power the Midlands Engine.”

EMA’s performance has attracted the attention of Government. While announcing its support for Heathrow’s third runway, the Government pledged to recognise the vital role that regional airports like EMA can play in stimulating the UK economy by making better use of current capacity.

EMA’s situation at the heart of the country, coupled with its excellent road links and already high performing cargo operation, is ideally placed to absorb some of the capacity issues in the south-east.