When the economy took a dive in 2008, so did the cargo traffic at Miami International Airport.
Five years later, the shipments have almost made it back to past heights.
One of the least-noticed economic indicators in South Florida, MIA’s cargo figures have been a pretty good mirror of the local economy. More than 2 million tons of cargo flies in and out of MIA, most of it tied to Latin American imports and exports. The peak for international cargo came in early 2008, in the early months of the 2007-09 national recession.
The recovery began a year later, and mostly has been creeping back ever since. The latest figures from November show the slow recovery has almost moved into expansion mode. The 12-month rolling average of MIA cargo is less than 1 percent below its previous record of about 178,000 tons a month.
Greg Chin, a MIA spokesman, noted the dollar value of cargo shipments at MIA have already recovered pre-recession records. That’s largely thanks to an increase in gold and drug shipments, which carry a far higher dollar figure than, say, clothes or consumer goods. He said MIA executives expect the final 2012 figures to show a new record in cargo volume, too.
The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine blog tracks South Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession. By putting the latest economic statistics in a historical context, the ETM tries to provide perspective on both the damage done and the pace of the recovery. Visit miamiherald.com/economic-time-machine for updates.