Freight Waves - Eric Kulisch

Decades-old freight infrastructure not equipped to handle larger aircraft, trade growth

The Airforwarders Association (AfA) and a group representing customs brokers released a position paper last week calling for the establishment of a dedicated investment fund for cargo facilities because air cargo is a critical driver of economic growth, especially e-commerce, and modernization is needed to keep airports from being bogged down by shipment growth.

U.S. airports and airlines lost tens of billions of dollars because of air travel shutdowns during the pandemic and are not equipped to finance an estimated $115 billion in needed upgrades over five years. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted late last year includes $25 billion for airports, but the cargo advocacy groups said localities and airports will prioritize passenger accommodations, safety and security over cargo due to the revenue shortfalls of the past two years. 

The report didn’t specify how much seed money state and federal governments should contribute to local airport initiatives. 

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