Heathrow press releases

16 December, 2016

Forget sleighs and reindeer - Heathrow’s got your Christmas cargo covered

Christmas Cargo

 

 

  • As shoppers rush to beat the deadline for the final post, over 130,000 tonnes of Christmas cargo is expected to reach the four corners of the world via Heathrow in December 2016, a record to date

  • Fresh salmon, knitted items, clotted cream and books are amongst the top exports by weight in Christmas 2015

  • Festive imports include Christmas staples like cranberries, lamb and peas

  • Over 1 million tonnes of cargo goes through Heathrow each year

 

With shoppers rushing to get their last minute presents ahead of this weekend’s international postage deadline, Heathrow is forecasting up to 132,000 tonnes of cargo will go through the airport this December, an increase of 3% over last year, and a new record in air freight for December at Heathrow since 1991.

To mark the occasion, Heathrow has released new data on the seasonal exports and imports in 2015 and highlights what Christmas 2016 has in store.

Heathrow’s export data reflects how our uniquely British sensibilities are exported to the world.  Fresh salmon was the single biggest export by weight, totalling 2,980 tonnes in December alone.  Other Christmas staples, including knitted and crocheted items, dairy products including clotted cream, and books were amongst the airport’s most popular exports by weight for the month of December, totalling 2,558 tonnes altogether in December 2015.  While not in the list of top ten exports overall, exports of whiskey jumped up by 76% - or 128 tonnes – from November to December 2015. 

At the same time, vital components of a festive feast are flown in from all over the world - including 1,680 tonnes of fresh berries, primarily cranberries from Chile, 839 tonnes of lamb, mostly from New Zealand, and 830 tonnes of peas, mostly from Guatemala. Popular presents including books, and pullovers were the most popular Heathrow import commodities by weight last December, and are expected to be again in 2016.

As the biggest port in the UK by value of goods, Heathrow has played an important role in exports. The top five UK export commodities by value expected to go through the airport this Christmas are (based on trends in December):

  •      Parts of aircraft & aircraft turbo engines - (in December 2015, the value of these was £281 million)
  •      Aircraft turbojets – (in December 2015, the value of these was £212 million)
  •      Vaccines for human medicine – (in December 2015, the value of these was £160 million)
  •      Medicine, measured doses or for retail sale – (in December 2015, the value of these was £130 million
  •      Paintings – (in December 2015, the value of these was £113 million)

As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow connects to 82 long-haul destinations which put it - and the UK – at the heart of international commerce. Having received Government backing for its expansion, Heathrow will be able to open up 40 additional long haul destinations – including some severely constrained routes to emerging markets - and almost double capacity.

Three of the top five Christmas export destinations at Heathrow (based on value in December 2015) are to fast growing economies in Asia:

  •          USA - £929 million
  •          Hong Kong - £849 million
  •          China - £730 million
  •          UAE - £238 million
  •          Japan - £151 million

In total, Heathrow has seen 1,407,561 tonnes of cargo go through the airport from January to November this year, an increase of almost 3% over the same period last year.

Nick Platts, Head of Cargo at Heathrow Airport said:

“We may be a long way from the North Pole, but the figures today underline Heathrow’s vital part in delivering Christmas to the UK, and the British Christmas to the world. Of course, our standing agreement with Santa Claus remains and we’ll prioritise his landing clearance come Christmas Eve.”

 

-  ENDS -

Notes to editors:

All figures exclude EU27 & Switzerland.

Source: UK Tradeinfo,  Seabury Group,  Heathrow analysis

130,000 tonnes of cargo is a record for December cargo volumes, based on Heathrow records for dating back from 1991.

Heathrow recently announced a proposed blueprint plan to develop cargo facilities and overhaul processes and people and grow UK cargo volumes. This will support the UKTI and Government’s drive to hit £1 trillion worth of UK exports by 2020. The Cargo Blueprint is accessible here: https://your.heathrow.com/takingbritainfurther/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Heathrow-Cargo-Blueprint.pdf#sthash.Iek3mZUw.dpuf

 

The top ten exports in December 2015, by weight, were:

 

Exports; Dec-15

Weight (tonnes)

Value (US$ 000’s)

1

Salmon, Fresh

2,980

23,337

2

Books, brochures and similar printed matter, not in single sheets

1,735

45,076

3

Milk, cream, buttermilk, yogurt etc. liquid, dried, concentrated or sweetened

532

5,977

4

Medicine, Measured Doses or for Retail Sale

336

194,844

5

Vehicles : Cars, Estate Cars or Station Wagons

312

53,492

6

Food preparations, not elsewhere specified

297

7,128

7

T-shirts & similar garments, of knitted or crocheted textile fabrics

291

12,071

8

Vehicle Engine Parts

277

27,977

9

Other Parts for Aircraft

263

179,486

10

Trout, Fresh

248

1,682

 

The top ten imports in December 2015, by weight, were:

 

Imports; Dec-15

Weight (tonnes)

Value (US$ 000’s)

1

Beans, Fresh

1,788

6,339

2

Berries including cranberries, blueberries, fresh

1,680

17,325

3

Books, brochures and similar printed matter, not in single sheets

1,193

19,000

4

Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats & similar, knitted or crocheted

979

30,566

5

Sheep Meat, Fresh

839

7,466

6

Digital ADP Machines, Portable (Laptops etc)

836

260,235

7

Peas, Fresh

830

4,472

8

Other Fresh Vegetables, Fresh

825

2,186

9

Asparagus, Fresh

763

5,692

10

T-shirts & similar garments, of knitted or crocheted textile fabrics

660

16,795