EDMONTON International Airport is banking on its geographic location and congestion free-facilities to advance a multibillion-dollar air logistics village and become a major cargo hub, reports New York's FreightWaves.
"Planes that typically would have stopped at another point use Edmonton not just as a place to stop and get gas, but actually the ending point. And then we're transporting the goods, by air, by road or by rail into parts of the US," said Edmonton Airport vice president of air service and business development Myron Keehn.
"We're seeing dramatic cargo growth because companies are realising the efficiencies of actually using Edmonton as their jumping-off point into the US and then conversely, back into Asia or the Middle East."
In late July, Transport Canada announced a grant of up to US$77.3 million to enhance cargo and logistics operations at Edmonton International Airport.
The money comes from a national infrastructure programme aimed at enhancing cross-border trade.
The entire development covers 2,000 acres with 60 million square feet of ecommerce logistics and fulfillment centres at full build-out.
It has a price tag of US$2.7 billion to $3.9 billion.
Preliminary consultations and surveying are underway, and the airport authority plans to look into design concepts and timelines in the coming months.
Construction began recently on a new highway interchange, with a piece of supporting infrastructure funded by the government of Alberta.
In addition to the expanded cargo apron, the $28 million, half funded by the federal government, includes a new connection to the runway, a new hydrant fueling system dedicated for cargo aircraft, and a tripling of cold-storage space.
The completed hydrant system ties into two large Shell Aviation Fuel tanks, eliminating the endless procession of trucks from the fuel farm.
Edmonton's cargo volumes are small by major airport standards but have steadily grown over the past six years.
"There's been a little bit of 'build it, and they will come.' But it's also been very strategic in making sure we had the assets people needed," said Mr Keehn.
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