Edmonton is growing its cargo business thanks to a deal that has an international network increasing its reach.
Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) has brought Edmonton in as a Canadian destination, thanks to an alignment with Atlas Air. It was first reported in the trade publication The Load Star.
It’s reporting that the Japanese carrier is routing one of its Chicago-Tokyo flights over Edmonton instead of Anchorage to set it up so the airline can pick up cargo for its home market from Alberta.
“It’s a developing business. We’re at the early stages but it is really exciting to be given the opportunity to work with a carrier of this stature,” confirmed Alex Lowe, the cargo manager with the Edmonton International Airport (EIA).
“It presents a nice concept for NCA to get some cargo in a place where they had to get fuel anyway,” Lowe said.
“Certainly it allows the shipping community and the freight boarding community another option to get their goods from Edmonton to Asia.”
A prime product that they can’t get enough of in Japan, is Alberta pork. But that’s not all, according to Lowe.
“We also have some fresh fruit and cherries that have been exported to date. They also are interested in some of the local manufactured goods, machine products, oil and gas exports, that type of thing.”
EIA is concentrating on not only expanding air passenger traffic, which hit 7.5 million in 2016, but also last year saw the seventh straight year of volume growth in the cargo side of the business.
It’s something Mayors Greg Krischke, John Whaley and Don Iveson talked about when the annexation agreement between Edmonton and Leduc County was finalized.
“It’s consistent with that strategy and cargo does deliver economic benefits to the entire shipping community in the region and the exporters who are looking to roll their business into international markets, air cargo provides an excellent means to do that,” Lowe said.
As for potential, Lowe was hesitant to speculate about what might be now that Canada is once again talking about trade talks in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), but he does see the possibilities.
The agreement NCA struck with Atlas Air happened in December. Edmonton became the second North American stopping off point between Chicago and Tokyo. Seattle is the other one.