Miami International Airport set to be a free trade zone

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Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport is to become a designated free trade zone, delegates heard at The International Air Cargo Association’s (TIACA) Executive Summit in Hollywood Beach from 24-26 May.

Miami-Dade Aviation Department aviation director, Emilio Gonzalez says the Florida hub wants to establish it in 2017, as it looks to become a global air cargo hub and adds: “Making the airport a free trade zone will pay huge dividends next year for Miami.”

He says Miami is committed to investing in the cargo business and is a major part of the airport’s focus.

“It (cargo) was not taken care of, cargo was always an after-thought as focus was passengers. We are working right now and are going to build up the cargo side of the business from the bottom up.”

Gonzalez says infrastructure at Miami needs modernising and sees no reason why it should not have “world-class facilities“ while it has 400,000 square feet of space available and adds: “We need that. We are a global air cargo hub but not a global air cargo facility. Then we can say we are a global gateway. We cannot just be the gateway to the Americas.”

He notes Miami is in discussions with several major carriers about adding freighters, while it is targeting a route to and from Asia, but it is the biggest challenge due to the geographical distance.

He says it is up to the hub to make sure facilities it provides are up to scratch for that route.

Gonzalez notes he is concerned about the Brazilian market, and his expectation is it is going to “get worse before it gets better.”

Miami serves 41 all-cargo carriers, while 66 per cent of perishables into the US move through it and 89 per cent of all flowers.