According to Boeing, it is projected that world air cargo traffic will double over the next 20 years. Many of the world’s largest and busiest airports are in urban settings with very limited opportunities for land expansion. In an urban area, how does freight get to and from the airport? It comes and goes in trucks, and truck traffic creates major bottlenecks at many airports.
According to FreightWaves, truck wait times for a dock in 2019 averaged 79 minutes at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), 77 minutes at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 57 minutes at Miami International Airport (MIA) and 47 minutes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Oftentimes, trucks are forced to park on streets and in unsanctioned areas such as private parking lots and freeway offramps, creating congestion and unsafe roadways. For air cargo, truckers have the added pressure of meeting flight closeout times for belly cargo.
There are some systems in place to help alleviate this congestion. Off-airport truck staging yards are working to solve the congestion. For example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offers an airport truck convenience center for this purpose. Additionally, smart parking management systems like CargoSprint and Atlanta’s TruckPass enhance remote truck lots with technology to take appointments online, check in, and log individual truck arrivals, routing them to available docks based on entered truck type, waybill number and other pertinent information.
While the approval process needed for airport property development and public road projects last for years, the development of a basic smart truck parking lot is comparatively easy and inexpensive. Some even offer investment opportunities to the business community to earn revenue from airport tie-ins, air cargo companies and lot concessions, while preserving the free access to truck lines as an incentive to stay off the public streets.