Freight activity at the Medford airport during 2008 was the lowest since Jackson County began keeping records in 2000.

Freight activity at the Medford airport during 2008 was the lowest since Jackson County began keeping records in 2000.

A total of 6,234,722 pounds of freight was handled at the airport, well off the previous low of 6,910,957 pounds in 2001. The 2008 figure was 12.1 percent lower than the 7,093,858 pounds that went through the airport in 2007.

Airport Director Bern Case said data is hard to interpret because of the relatively short period numbers have been collected. While the global economic slump is the prime cause for fewer cargo loads, there is no single element reducing local freight activity.

"I've been analyzing it myself and I wish we had better data," Case said. "They didn't keep track of it the way we do now prior to 2000. It was about that time that the foreign trade zone went out of existence. They had been tracking international freight up to that point. When that went away, we decided somebody needed to keep track."

The foreign trade zone, which made Medford a port of entry for several years, boosted cargo numbers.

No year has matched 2000's 9,492,401 pounds, the first 12-month period the county tracked freight weight.