Nose-diving Asia imports sent cargo traffic at San Francisco International Airport plunging 36 percent in December, giving the major trans-Pacific gateway a 14.4-percent decline in overall freight business in 2008.
International imports fell 43 percent at SFO in December from the same month the year before, a stark sign of the strong pullback in production from factories in China and exports from the region. China, Japan and Taiwan have issued recent reports that their overall exports went into free-fall in the closing weeks of 2008.
Los Angeles International Airport, the largest trans-Pacfic air cargo gateway in North America, reported a 24.3-percent decline in freight traffic in December, but LAX does separate international from domestic shipments in its public report on figures.
Overall cargo traffic at Los Angeles International fell 11.9 percent in 2008.
The numbers from San Francisco were even worse during the year, and the cargo tonnage contrasted sharply with passenger business that actually grew 4.5 percent in 2008.
But the international traffic that forms the largest share of San Francisco's cargo business fell 11.1 percent in 2008, and was down 39.6 percent in December. Domestic tonnage was down 18.9 percent during the full year, including a 31.2-percent slide in December.
-- Air Cargo World