The gateway from North America to China

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Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is focusing on trade with Asia taking advantage of being home to the only freighter between mainland China and Canada, writes Air Cargo Week’s staff writer, James Muir.

The airport says developing itself as the gateway to and from North America and China/Asia is not an accident, telling ACW: “EIA is home to the only freighter operation between mainland China and Canada, interline connections to/from all of Canada with Cargojet and Westjet Cargo combined with 5th freedom rights Air China Cargo maintains, EIA is a developing gateway to and from North America and China/Asia.”

EIA says its advantages include sitting on the third largest known oil reserve(s) in the world, with three major oil refineries based within one hour of the airport, and a fourth due to open soon.

Edmonton describes itself as the ‘hub of Alberta’s North America pipeline network’, saying: “we continue to expand pipeline infrastructure on and off airport to improve the service offering and cost to air carriers, all matched with our excellent positioning on the Trans Pac Polar routes.”

“EIA provides Tech Stops with Benefits, by adding cargo loads to a required Trans Pac Tech Stop routing.”

EIA Cargo has registered its seventh consecutive year of growth helped by new services from Air China Cargo and Air France KLM Cargo, with a particularly good fourth quarter helped by the strengthening of the oil and gas sector.

“Although the economic performance of the province is weak, Edmonton continues to be resilient and lead the province in most economic measures.”

Though oil and gas has been strengthening, something new is the introduction of agrifood shipments, which had previously travelled by other modes or by road carriers to US airports. EIA says: “As the EIA Cargo network expands and continues to establish itself, increasingly shippers of all sectors are recognising the value of these carriers serving the prairies through the efficient gateway airport of EIA.”

Pharmaceuticals and perishables have also been contributing to growth; with the former benefitting from a new 800,000 square foot R & D, processing and distribution facility of medical marijuana facilities on site, while the latter has been helped by Edmonton’s geographic position.

Edmonton’s catchment area includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and EIA tells ACW: “In 2016 cherries from Washington State, swine from Manitoba and multiple perishables products, blueberries, honey are increasingly utilising the air cargo carriers at EIA.”

The airport says it remains bullish for 2017 and to facilitate and attract new cargo for consolidation at EIA, it says: “we continue to aggressively build out our cargo village.”

EIA has big plans for 2017, with Runway Developments due to complete construction of a 30,000 square foot multi-tenant groundside facility for freight forwarders and shippers by the summer, Aeroterm to complete construction of their 50,000 square foot airside facility about the same time and an 800,000 square foot pharma and e-commerce warehouse scheduled for the fourth quarter.

Added to this, Rosenau Transport’s road carrier hub and 211,000 square foot warehousing facility is now operational improving services to/from EIA’s Western Canada catchment area.

EIA says its biggest opportunity comes from its geographic position, its economic might and expanding air cargo network to the continued success of attracting business, trade and logistics investments.

It says: “All of this of course aligned to our air carrier route offerings. Our partner air carriers have made significant investments into our market, it is our responsibility to invest wisely, even conservatively while (please delete conservatively) ensuring we stay slightly ahead of their infrastructure requirements in order to maximise their success.”at EIA.