10/3/12 – MidAmerica St. Louis Airport and Ningbo Lishe International Airport Announce Partnership Action Plan and Current Status

Atlanta, Georgia, October 3, 2012… Today, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV) and Ningbo Lishe International Airport (NGB) made public a January 2012 agreement outlining joint marketing, perishable processing projects and air cargo route updates aimed specifically at establishing a trade route between both airports to connect Asia air cargo with the Americas. The agreement was announced at The International Air Cargo Association 26th Air Cargo Forum (TIACA ACF 2012), the premier air cargo industry event. MidAmerica Airport has been a Trustee in TIACA since 1997 and was joined by representatives of Ningbo Airport at the Forum to formally announce their agreement.  TIACA has been a valuable resource organization for this effort as its members represent the entire spectrum of the air cargo industry and share efforts to increase and improve the air cargo market.

The agreement highlights four specific areas for both airports and they have been working on them continually. They are: 1) Assist to organize freight originating from each airport to assist carriers 2) assist air carriers to start new air service 3) assist all trade route users with government approvals and support 4) coordinate joint discussions and joint marketing to users of the trade route. Attendance and marketing at the TIACA ACF 2012 was specifically outlined as one item in this agreement.

In June 2012 a key operational component of this MidAmerica-Ningbo joint effort began as North Bay Produce, Inc., celebrated the grand opening of its $5.7 million, 36,448-square-foot refrigerated, perishable warehouse at MidAmerica. For North Bay, an international, grower-owned, year-round, fresh produce marketing and distribution cooperative, headquartered in Traverse City, Mich., the company’s expansion to MidAmerica Airport is a key step in its plans to open the Asian trade lane that is integral to the company’s future growth.

North Bay was one of several USA exporting companies who travelled with St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern on the January trade mission to Ningbo.  Chairman Kern and Ningbo’s Vice Mayor Su, along with over one hundred Ningbo area stakeholder businesses, held meetings and discussions on linking both communities to world trade via air cargo. They specifically agreed to action steps to accomplish mutual goals. North Bay produce will be one of the first benefactors from the new trade route and plans to start using air for logistics solutions for its import and export shipments from Central and South America in Q4/2012. The company is in discussions with several airlines for this service, while Ningbo Airport is in simultaneous discussions with Chinese air carriers for the service from Ningbo to MidAmerica. MidAmerica has led three follow on trade missions to Ningbo to facilitate discussions between USA exporters and Chinese buyers.  Those companies have mainly been in the perishable family like fresh meats, fish, fruits, vegetables and chilled processed commodities.  Chinese consumers are demonstrating eager desire for those products and the Ningbo area will benefit from these USA exports.

Chairman Kern said, “Our partnership with the Ningbo Municipality and Ningbo Lishe International Airport has been an example of excellent second tier airport cooperation to support their international aims.  We look forward to having goods and services passing on the Ningbo-MidAmerica-Latin America trade route in both directions. MidAmerica and Ningbo Lishe Airports are well equipped to handle high value dry goods and perishables in a safe, secure, efficient and economical way.”

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn stated at the June North Bay opening “Our goal is to make Illinois the inland port of the nation, and we remain committed to ensuring the Metro East (where MidAmerica resides) plays a vital role in achieving that goal.”

Ningbo Lishe Airport’s aim to increase its air cargo volumes is boosted by this agreement. Mr. Chen, Ningbo International Airport and Logistics Administration Business Promotion and Port Affairs, joined MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell for the announcement. Mr. Chen stated, ”As a close partner of BLV, Ningbo International Airport and Logistics Administration is pleased to work as dynamic partners in both China and the States. Our plan is progressing very well.”

Ningbo has been coordinating the air freight activity outbound from China to both the Midwest USA and to Central and South America.  MidAmerica has been coordinating the air freight activity in the other direction.  Both airports jointly present to shippers, forwarders and airlines for support of the air trade route.

Of particular note is the clear aim of both partners to provide a safe, secure, certified and efficient handling service for perishables. MidAmerica’s MIDAMERICA FRESH™ quality control initiative is licensed to airport tenants and product shippers who abide by temperature discipline and tracking.  Products awarded the MIDAMERICA FRESH™ certification can add that emblem to their packaging. Ningbo Lishe Airport is partnered with MidAmerica to ensure those processes and opportunities reside in Ningbo as well, clearly a first for secondary airports in China. In essence, the partners have established a process for certifying a cool chain route between the Americas and Asia ensuring the USA exported fresh foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and other perishables experience the highest air cargo quality handling possible. Ningbo has committed to building a new 50,000 square meter air cargo terminal as part of their $1.3 Billion USD airport improvement program.

About MidAmerica St. Louis Airport

Airport Code: BLV

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is located in Mascoutah, Illinois, in the eastern portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Major multimodal rail and inland port centers are located within 22 miles of the airport, which also enjoys easy access to five interstate highways via I-64.  With parallel runways of 8,000 and 10,000 feet, the airport can handle simultaneous take-offs and landings in all conditions, minimizing delays.  It has an annual capacity of 200,000 operations. Tenants include Boeing, which recently located a new manufacturing facility at the airport, as well as AVMATS, a company providing alternatives for the support and maintenance of corporate aircraft, which has been operating at MidAmerica for over nine years. MidAmerica is a Joint Use Airport partnering with Scott AFB, the home to US Transportation Command, a multi service organization, and Air Mobility Command, the USAF’s component command for airlift.  MidAmerica and the 375th Air Mobility Wing operate Scott AFB/MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.  For more information, visit www.flymidamerica.com.

About Ningbo Lishe International Airport

Airport Code: NGB

Ningbo Lishe International Airport is situated 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) southwest of Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, China. Ningbo Lishe International Airport was opened in 1992, and was renovated and expanded in 2002. Now, it has a newly built terminal building, which can handle a throughput of 1700 person-times at the peak hour, and 3,800,000 person-times for one year. The 297,000 square meters (355,209 square yards) green landscaped terminal provide a pleasant environment for passengers. Ningbo Lishe International Airport has opened up routes to most of the major cities in China; like Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, and Lanzhou. The Airport also provides regular international flights to Seoul, South Korea.

For more information, contact:

Julie Hauser, The Hauser Group (314) 436-9090

Tim Cantwell, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Director (314) 704 2003