Our nation's businesses rely on a 21st century transportation network that can get parts, supplies, and finished products where they need to go--safely and efficiently. For many American businesses, that means an air cargo system that can keep up with the speed of global commerce.
That's why President Obama and DOT are committed to investing in a reliable, modern transportation network that creates jobs today and supports businesses in the long-term.
And this morning at the International Air Cargo Forum in Atlanta, I reaffirmed the Administration's commitment to maintaining a strong air cargo industry that expands international trade and contributes to job creation and prosperity at home. What’s good for air cargo is good for the U.S. economy.
In fact, air cargo accounts for 31% of the total value of U.S. exports. It’s a $60 billion industry that has a huge effect on our economy. In Atlanta alone, more than 19,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Atlanta area are related to air cargo operations. I saw the contribution this industry is making in Tennessee when I visited the FedEx aviation hub in Memphis and the UPS hub in Louisville.
The President set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015, and a thriving air cargo industry is helping move us closer to that goal each year.
Through our Open Skies agreements, we have opened more than a hundred markets around the world to our cargo industry. Open Skies agreements allow airlines to select routes and destinations based on demand for cargo services, without limitation on the number of flights or carriers that can operate in the market.
As a result, we have industry leaders, like UPS and FedEx, with strategically placed hub facilities in key growth and manufacturing markets worldwide. Some of these ultra-modern hubs are capable of moving tens of thousands of pieces of cargo per hour. And they link the United States with key trading partners across the world, like China and Europe.
We're also working hard to to help America’s leading industries move their products to market quickly and efficiently over roads, rails, and water. These efforts support the interconnected nature of freight—and that’s a positive step for the air cargo industry.
We recognize how important the air cargo industry is to our economy. And we recognize that our work is not done.
Real challenges and difficulties still exist for US cargo carriers around the world. So we'll continue to work with partners here at home and abroad to ensure that our dynamic and growing cargo industry continues to be a worldwide leader, increasing trade and creating jobs.