- A largely vacant tract of land beside Philadelphia International Airport could become an active shipping hub under a plan to develop the site into a new air-freight complex, The Inquirer reported. In January, the airport won the right of access to the 135-acre Henderson Tract, west of the passenger terminals.
- The acquisition is a move by the Philadelphia Airport to seize a portion of the roughly $50 million in air cargo business generated by airports in Baltimore, Washington, New York and Newark, New Jersey. Expanded East Coast availability — complete with parking — should appeal to transporters finding other locations too crowded.
- Possible markets for the new facility within the supply chain include pharmaceuticals, auto manufacturers and others.
Air cargo capacity increased steadily throughout 2017, at rates of between 10%-14%. And thanks to e-commerce, air transport is playing a larger role in multimodal delivery methods, as well as adding more than 67 million jobs to the supply chain as the industry struggles to keep pace with growth.
All of this makes it the ideal time for Philadelphia to expand its offerings to include air cargo service at a location large enough to make the loading and unloading of planes as quick and efficient as possible. Adding another East Coast location to the current cargo sites in Newark, Baltimore and Washington will allow for industry breathing room rather than competition for business, as both staff and existing gates are presently over-burdened as a result of the rapid pace of transport growth.
Furthermore, industrial expansion in Philadelphia could also be seen as an outgrowth of the massive logistics hub in Lehigh Valley. That mid-Atlantic region is considered a logistical gateway to the Northeast and the East Coast, and a robust air hub in Philadelphia is just the next link in an already robust logistics network in that region.
In other words, an expansion of Philadelphia's air cargo presence is not just a boon for the city of Philadelphia — it's a big deal for the entire eastern seaboard.