Bush Airport launches new air cargo facility

Bush Intercontinental Airport has developed a new air cargo facility with the intention of establishing Houston as a major hub for temperature- and time-sensitive air cargo.
The 61,484-square-foot facility, developed by Trammell Crow Company to be operated by Tradewinds Cargo Handling, is scheduled to begin operation in early November. The new facility has the capability of changing the landscape and altering the traffic patterns for the distribution of fresh cargo, also known as perishables.
The major hubs for fresh cargo have long been Los Angeles and Miami. Produce is flown to the airports then trucked to the desired destination. That means a two-day delay for Houston retailers and consumers.
“We’re trying to develop some new supply lines that will help to get the product into the U.S. faster. It doesn’t make sense to fly perishables to Miami and then truck them all the way to Louisiana, Texas or other nearby places. The produce loses value every time it’s stressed,” said Marlene McClinton, Houston Airport System Communications Manager.
This will be the first major facility to open in the center of the country. If you look at a map, the South Central U.S. lacks import options and Houston is looking to fill that void.
“This opening should improve efficiency and product quality for buyers and retailers in the South Central part of the country and indeed for the suppliers in Central and South America and other international suppliers,” said Rob Wigington, Deputy Director of Marketing Communications and Community Affairs for Houston Airports.
Wigington said he hopes the new facility will produce new opportunities for jobs and strengthen the reputation of IAH as a top-tier global airport.
“We are not looking to replace the main fresh produce centers as they presently exist, however will be able to take the strain off of them,” said Wigington.
A consolidated inspection facility, better known as customs, is located right next to the new fresh produce facility, which will streamline the process here in Houston. In addition, the building is located where most of the trucking and transfer takes place, encouraging faster pick-up and delivery of products.
The facility will begin importing flowers from South America in November and will expand as time progresses.
“Despite the challenging financial news, particularly in the aviation industry, the time is right for a project like this in that efficiency can lead to greater savings for consumers,” said McClinton. “Strong business at IAH translates into greater financial security, especially for the surrounding area.”
The new addition will not add a considerable amount of traffic to the airport in that it will only be flying two planes in a week. In fact, it is expected that it will reduce 18-wheeler traffic as well, because there will be fewer trucks delivering products from places like Miami.
“We have been working closely with the major civic, community and business groups from the Humble and surrounding areas for roughly a year now on a plan to introduce this project and address concerns in advance.” said Wigington.
For more information, visit www.fly2houston.com.

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