Anchorage airport looks at building a new cargo handling center

A Singapore Airlines Cargo plan taxis for departure on Runway 32 at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on April 27, 2013. The airport ranked fifth in the world for the most air cargo to go through it in 2017. (Creative Commons photo by BriYYZ)

Managers of the Anchorage airport are looking into construction of a big new warehouse to help boost the volume of air cargo shipped through the city.

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Anchorage is already is the world’s fifth busiest cargo airport, just ahead of Dubai. More than 10 planes every day come and go between Anchorage and Shanghai and two-dozen more head to and from Chicago. They’re filled with things like electronics, seafood, flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Now, managers at the state-run airport have an idea to make things more efficient for shipping companies.

Say you’re flying a pallet of iPhones from Asia to the United States. You want to stop in Anchorage to transfer the shipment to another plane, but that other plane won’t arrive for four or five hours and it’s raining.

Right now, there’s no place to stash those phones that’s close to the area where cargo planes park.

“What we want to do is provide a facility where people can store stuff on a quick basis to keep things out of the elements and secure,” Jim Szczesniak, the Anchorage airport manager, said in a phone interview Thursday.

The airport on Thursday issued a formal invitation to companies, asking them to pitch their ideas for building and operating what the airport is calling a “quick cargo center.”

The warehouse would sit close to the cargo plane parking area, and it could even house offices for shipping companies. The airport is looking at two possible sites, one of which would be big enough for a warehouse the size of six football fields.

Szczesniak said the facility could be built with help from the state’s economic development arm, the Alaska Economic Development and Export Authority. Companies have to send letters of interest by mid-December.

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