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Hamilton Economic Development

Hamilton airport to get $12-million cargo facility

Federal Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt announces a major cargo expansion at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport Thursday.Horses, flowers, food and pharma — the new 60,000-square-foot intermodal cargo facility at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport will be able to handle whatever the world would like to ship here.

The federal and provincial governments along with Tradeport International announced Thursday morning $12 million in funding for the new handling terminal at Hamilton’s airport. The governments are contributing $8 million while Tradeport is kicking in $4 million. Tradeport is the company which manages the airport in a contract with the city.

The funding will provide new business opportunities because the facility will include multiple truck docks to quickly move freight from airplanes to trucks; refrigeration to handle pharmaceuticals; flowers; food and other perishables; a live animal centre and multi-tenant cargo and courier handling facilities.

Construction is expected to begin this year with completion by mid-2014.

Frank Scremin, president and CEO of the airport, said that will give Hamilton a big competitive advantage over other airports and intermodal shipping locations.

“When you look at where we are located and where we live, we’re in the middle of the largest population base in the country. So when you look at perishable goods and how much is consumed in this area, if you can create an opportunity to have those goods shipped to Hamilton, there’s a significant competitive advantage.

“Currently a lot of those goods are shipped to other locations and brought in by truck. That’s the challenge for us, how do we shift those routes and get them shipped to us?”

Scremin said there will be about 50 jobs in the construction of the facility with another 400 jobs created directly or indirectly because of the expansion of space for multiple tenants such as freight handlers (brokers for shipping customers) and other cargo services.

Richard Koroscil, former Tradeport CEO and a consultant to Tradeport’s parent company, Vantage Airport Group, said being able to tap into pharmaceuticals alone is going to be a big advantage. Then there’s the live animal centre which could help facilitate the shipment of horses for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

“There are a lot of products moved all year — the big one is pharmaceutical,” said Koroscil. “You can have one pallet of pharmaceuticals worth $1 million — it has to be moved quickly and in a contained, refrigerated environment.

“The whales in Niagara Falls (at Marineland)? They were flown here from Russia. Then there’s the Pan Am Games. Horses are worth a fortune. The Hamilton region is a huge agricultural zone — chicks, cows, pigs, everything can move through here now.”

Lisa Raitt, Halton’s MP and the federal labour minister, who made the formal announcement on behalf of Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel, said investing in air cargo infrastructure has a range of benefits for the local and national economy.

“Nationally, we take great pride in our logistics systems. We’ve got gateways on the east coast and the west coast and here in the continental gateway. This facility is going to help create a gateway concept, hopefully internationally.”

It was a long time coming.

Dean Allison, MP for Niagara-West Glanbrook, said the idea was first floated about six years ago when Koroscil was CEO for Tradeport.

“There’s great infrastructure already here at the airport and it’s so underutilized. It just makes sense given how much freight they do here that we support an already great asset.”

Article courtesy of Lisa Grace Marr , The Hamilton Spectator.

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