The UAE will be among the world's top 10 largest freight markets by 2016, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.
The emirate will be the world's six largest freight market with 2.5 million tons of air freight by 2016.
"By 2016, the largest international freight markets will be the US (7.7m tons), Germany (4.2m tons), China (3.5m tons), Hong Kong (3.2m tons), Japan (2.9m tons), the UAE (2.5m tons), Korea (1.9m tons), the UK (1.8m tons), India (1.6m tons) and the Netherlands (1.6m tons)," the international aviation body said in a press statement.
International freight volumes will grow at 3% per annum to total 34.5 million tons in 2016. That is 4.8 million more tons of air cargo than the 29.6 million tons carried in 2011.
The emerging economies of Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East will see the strongest passenger growth. This will be led by routes within or connected to China, which are expected to account for 193 million of the 831 million new passengers over the forecast period (159 million on domestic routes and 34 million traveling internationally). Passenger growth within the Asia-Pacific region (domestic and international) is expected to add around 380 million passengers over the forecast period.
International freight volumes are expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 3.0%, which is the result of an upward growth trend over forecast period – starting at 1.4% growth in 2012 and reaching 3.7% in 2016.
The five fastest growing international freight markets over the 2011-2016 period will be Sir Lanka (8.7% CAGR), Vietnam (7.4%), Brazil (6.3%), India (6.0%) and Egypt (5.9%). Five of the 10 fastest growing countries are in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, reflecting MENA's growing importance in international air freight.
Freight carriage within the Asia-Pacific region will account for around 30% of the expected total increase in freight tonnage over the period.