August 14, 2017 3:00 am
Updated: August 14, 2017 7:14 pm

Edmonton adds to cargo load with a regular flight to Tokyo

WATCH ABOVE: It's a big win for the airport and Alberta companies looking to grow overseas. It could help put people to work and diversify the economy. Vinesh Pratap reports on a new air cargo service connecting Edmonton with one of the biggest cities in the world.

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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.

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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.”

READ MORE: Cargo service up for 7th consecutive year at Edmonton International Airport

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.

READ MORE: Planning underway for QEII overpass connecting Leduc and Edmonton International Airport

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.

“Depending on where this business evolves to, absolutely in the future, but in the moment it would be a little bit premature to link it to TPP. At the moment they [NCA] are serving current market needs. But definitely certainly into the future depending what happens with TPP it could further strengthen the initative.”

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.

 

 

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