You might think that when it comes to air cargo—especially international shipments—all the action is in places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. But don't discount airports in mid-sized cities. Things are really hopping at some of these sites.
A good example is the MidAmerica Airport in St. Louis. In recent months, MidAmerica has announced several cargo-related developments that showcase its potential as an international air-cargo destination. The biggest news: A private investor is constructing a 62,000-square-foot cargo building to replace the previous building, which was taken over by The Boeing Corp. as a manufacturing facility. The new building, slated for completion by the end of June, will include more than 20,000 square feet of space for processing perishable goods. Once construction is completed, MidAmerica will be the only airport north of Alabama with on-airport ramp access to facilities for perishable food processing, according to officials. The airport hopes to attract exports of beef, pork, poultry, and fish raised in the Midwest.
MidAmerica has already attracted significant interest as a destination for imports from China. Last year, freight forwarder Beijing Expedient Services made two test flights from Shanghai. The second test run, which was conducted in November, involved a Boeing 747-200 operated by Southern Air that was loaded with nearly 100 tons of general cargo. The same month, UniGroup Worldwide Inc., the household and high-value goods mover, opened a customs brokerage office at the airport. UniGroup expects to use MidAmerica as a port of entry for shipments from China and South America.
To accommodate the added traffic, MidAmerica plans to double the size of its cargo apron. The expanded apron will allow for simultaneous cargo operations for four 747-400 aircraft.