By Erin Thorburn for AZ Big Media
Erik Lee, executive director for North American Research Partnership, summarizes the impact very succinctly. “SkyBridge is the most consequential Mexico-Arizona business project in this part of Arizona,” Lee states emphatically.
SkyBridge marks the nation’s first inland air cargo hub to house a joint United States-Mexico customs facility. The recent groundbreaking of SkyBridge, housed in Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, marks an opportunity for 17,000 projected long-term jobs to enter the region — both directly and indirectly. But job creation is just one snippet born of a much larger “SkyBridge vision.”
Those wondering just how valuable the Mexico-Arizona partnership is can simply look at the statistics regarding e-commerce. According to Marco A. López Jr., president and CEO of Intermestic Partners and founding partner of SkyBridge Arizona, e-commerce in the Latin American market is a $359M industry — and growing.
Opportunity Knocks at SkyBridge
According to López, 75 percent of goods bought online from Latin American countries are being purchased from e-commerce websites in the U.S. This makes SkyBridge perfectly positioned as an international clearance hub for goods bought in the U.S.
SkyBridge Arizona is a 360-acre, long-term development at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport that will allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican Customs officers to work side by side to jointly inspect and process shipments in preparation for international transit.
According to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, SkyBridge is a $230M commercial development that will have 2MSF of warehouse space, of office space, 800KSF air cargo operations, 900KSF of light industrial and flex space, and 100KSF of retail and restaurants. It is also expected to increase cargo flights out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway to 2,000 per year, a number that will skyrocket to 10,000 by 2036.
The logistic advantage SkyBridge offers is in expedited delivery of goods. With Mexican customs officials on site at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, the customs approval process can happen before the plane departs from the U.S. to Mexico, allowing cargo to be delivered to its destination the very same day, according to CBRE Senior VP Jackie Orcutt.
“In the past, there’s been a bottleneck for delivery of product to Mexico via air cargo and it could take up to 14 days for cargo product to make it through customs once it had landed in Mexico,” Orcutt says. “This process allows it to happen essentially the same day.”
In addition, companies operating out of SkyBridge benefit by saving three to four months of tax benefits since taxes are not required to be paid until a company has a buyer. Goods can be trucked to Mesa, stored in a warehouse, add value by being assembled onsite, and all the while, still be classified as a foreign product until it goes to the buyer.
“For Arizona, this means our state becomes the place where companies come that want to interact with Mexico,” López says. “There’s no stop in terms of opportunity potential. The long-term potential of SkyBridge is that in terms of national logistics leadership, no other city in America has this type of infrastructure ready to go.”
Read more at AZ Big Media.