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Hamilton Economic Development

Hamilton Airport Lands New Tenant

Photo of Cargojet Inc, one of the main tenants of a ne air cargo logistics facility at the John C. Munro AirportA major tenant has taken space in the new cargo warehouse at Hamilton airport.

Cargojet will take over roughly half of the 77,000 square feet of space in the new $12-million facility.

“This is a very important development for us,” said Frank Scremin, president of John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. “This really reinforces their commitment to Hamilton as the hub of their operations.”

The new Air Cargo Logistics Facility is being financed jointly by the federal and provincial governments and TradePort International Corporation. TradePort operates Hamilton airport under a long-term agreement with the city.

The governments committed $8 million to the project in January. TradePort is contributing $4 million. The new warehouse will feature specially refrigerated areas for drugs and other perishables as well as multiple truck docks and space for shippers to assemble cargo from different areas or break up skids of goods for shipment to numerous final destinations. It is a major development because it will open new business Hamilton airport could not compete for in the past.

Cargojet CEO Ajay Virmani said his company needs the extra office and warehouse space as its business doubles following its recent win of a new contract with Canada Post and Purolator.

“This initiative will allow Cargojet to enhance efficiencies when handling our customers’ products in a safe, secure and temperature controlled environment,” he said in a news release.

“We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Hamilton International Airport as we … potentially double the size of our business.”

In February, Cargojet announced it had been awarded a seven-year deal with the Canada Post Group of Companies to handle cargo. The deal, which includes three 36-month extensions, is potentially worth $1 billion. It will see Cargojet handle all the cargo operations of Purolator and Canada Post.

Cargojet moves more than 500,000 pounds of cargo each business night. Hamilton airport, with the ability to operate 24 hours a day, is a major cargo hub for the country.

Construction of the facility is expected to start in the spring. The idea of such a warehouse has been circling the airport for the last six years while funding deals and early plans were arranged.

While TradePort sold city council in 1996 on the idea of turning Hamilton airport into a passenger destination, that dream has never been realized. More than 1 million passengers used the Mount Hope airfield in the early years of TradePort’s management when WestJet Airlines made Hamilton its eastern hub. Those numbers went into a steep dive after WestJet moved its operations to Toronto. The airport handled 351,500 passengers in 2012, up 5.7 per cent from 2011.

Cargo has always been Hamilton airport’s strength, even though volumes have been depressed recently due to the lingering effects of recession. It is home to the regional cargo operations of courier companies such as UPS, DHL and Purolator in addition to Cargojet.

The airport’s annual report for 2012 — the 2013 version is expected later this month — shows cargo volumes of just under 400 million kilograms, down 7.4 per cent from 430 million kilograms in 2011.

Article courtesy of Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator

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