WORLD ROUTES: Hamilton Has High Hopes for Cargo Capacity

Live lobster and fresh flowers may soon take a new route to their final destinations, thanks to a $12 million, dedicated common-use cargo facility under construction at Hamilton’s John C. Munro International Airport.

Live lobster and fresh flowers may soon take a new route to their final destinations, thanks to a $12 million, dedicated common-use cargo facility under construction at Hamilton’s John C. Munro International Airport (YHM).

The 77,000 square foot (7,150 square metre) facility will include common-use warehouse and dedicated office space, as well as a feature that could well be a game-changer for the Airport’s cargo operations: the addition of temperature-controlled storage. Not widely available at regional airports, cold storage opens the door to shipping high-value perishables like seafood, pharmaceutical products, produce and flowers.

“More cargo capacity and the addition of temperature-controlled storage means that we can better help our cargo partners move a variety of goods to market, faster and more efficiently,” said Lincoln Garraway, Director of Cargo Development, Hamilton International.

Funded through a joint partnership between the Canadian and Ontario governments and TradePort International, the airport’s Vantage-owned operator, this multimodal facility is expected to open for business in the second quarter of 2015.

Hamilton’s airport already boasts an established cargo presence, thanks to 24-7 operations, competitive fees and its strategic location in central Canada’s Southern Ontario region. Both Purolator and Cargojet, Canada’s largest dedicated air cargo carrier, operate bases at YHM, with other leading cargo integrators such as DHL and UPS.

Cargojet will serve as the new facility’s anchor tenant, occupying half of the total space, with the balance available to existing and ad-hoc cargo carriers. Cargojet CEO Ajay K. Virmani is excited about his company’s growth prospects.  “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Hamilton International Airport as we grow our overnight air cargo network with new contracts, potentially doubling the size of our business,” he said.

An infrastructure project of this kind is also a boon for local jobs and the economy. Airport officials estimate that construction of the cargo facility will generate some 50 local jobs in the Southern Ontario region – and more once the facility is open for business next year.

With a catchment area of more than eight million people and located less than an hour’s drive from both downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls, John C. Munro Hamilton International is a convenient gateway airport for business and leisure travel. Its location within Canada makes the airport and ideal cargo entry for automotive manufacturing products, floral distribution and a key transit point for seafood.

Meanwhile, across Canada prized Atlantic lobsters destined for European palettes are arriving at airports like Greater Moncton International Airport for transtic across the Atlantic Ocean.  In fact the airport made cargo headlines this year when its newly expanded runway played host to its first Boeing 747, bound for Europe with a full belly load of fresh Atlantic lobster and seafood.

Operated by international carrier C.A.L. Cargo Air Lines, the flight landed at Belgium’s Liège Airport, where its temperature-controlled contents were quickly unloaded and shipped by ground to European markets and restaurants.  For C.A.L., this flight marked a symbolic focus on North American cargo operations for 2014 and beyond.

Meanwhile, Greater Moncton International Airport (YQM) officials recognised the flight as both a first for its extended 10,000 foot (3,048 metre) runway and a catalyst for the airport’s growth as a cost-effective trans-shipment cargo gateway.  Located in the heart of Atlantic Canada, Greater Moncton International Airport is steadily growing its cargo capacity, with a 3.2 per cent increase over the summer and a year-to-date increase of 4.5 per cent over 2013.

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