New air cargo hub transforms Phoenix into 'powerful economic engine'
- SkyBridge Arizona, a new international air cargo hub and the nation's first, will soon commence operations out of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, American Shipper reported. The hub will enhance trade between the U.S., Mexico and throughout Latin America by eliminating the additional step of gaining approval in Mexico City.
- The customs portion of the project — Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) Program — will be operated by both the U.S. and Mexico. The joint program initially began in Nogales, Arizona and will now expand for air freight to SkyBridge Arizona.
- The project will likely create 17,000 jobs and increase cargo flights out of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport by roughly 2,000 a year, transforming the airport from a "convenient regional transportation hub to a powerful economic engine,” Jose Pablo Martinez Buentello, SkyBridge Arizona project manager, said in a press release. At least $230 million dollars in investments have been set aside for 360 acres of land for commercial development and 2 million square feet of warehouse space to accommodate the project.
Air cargo freight between Arizona and Mexico has expanded 30% YoY, or roughly 180% from 2011 to 2015, easily bypassing other modes of international transport. At an annual total of $390 million per year, freight trade between Arizona and Mexico also outpaced the surrounding states of California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas, whereas air freight traffic expanded a mere 10% percent during the same period.
SkyBridge is expected to gain at least 5% of the region's exports to Mexico by 2025, worth roughly $650 million dollars.
In addition, Skybridge will benefit both Arizona State University and the Maricopa County Community Colleges as an ally in the schools' research and development endeavors, business incubator, technology partner and potential employer.
Lastly, e-commerce is also expected to benefit from the Skybridge initiative. Currently, just over half of Mexico’s population has internet access, while only two out of three users are online shoppers. Despite those numbers, the Mexican market spent almost $300 billion on e-commerce goods in 2017. As freight transport becomes simpler thanks to Skybridge, an increase of 17% in purchase totals is expected.
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