Arizona business leaders, trade advocates and government officials gathered today at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (PMGA) to celebrate the operational launch of SkyBridge Arizona, the world’s first international air cargo hub to house both Mexican and United State customs. SkyBridge CEO, Ariel Picker, vice mayor of the City of Mesa, David Luna and Administrador General de Aduanas, Francisco Gil Leyva were among the attendees. Governor Ducey first announced plans for the new air logistics center in January at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s 2018 Legislative Forecast Luncheon at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix.
History was made today when a consolidated joint customs inspection process, known as the Unified Cargo Processing (UCP), was deployed for the first time ever on an air cargo shipment leaving PMGA. At 11:00 a.m., locally headquarted logistics company, SHIPHAUS, arrived at
the SkyBridge checkpoint carryingfreight in transit to Hermosillo, Sonora’s capital in northwest Mexico. Onlookers watched as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers worked side-by-side with Mexican customs officers to inspect and process the shipment before loading the goods onto a fully-cleared aircraft. Despite physically crossing international boundaries, the flight will be considered a domestic arrival upon landing, thereby allowing transporters to bypass lengthy, duplicative customs processing in Mexico.
The concept of joint inspections was first launched in Arizona at the Mariposa land port of entry in Nogales in 2016. Inspection times there have been reduced dramatically thanks to the historic binational cooperation. The success of UCP in Nogales is considered to be the catalyst behind the creation of five additional joint inspections sites.
In addition to dramatically reducing shipping costs and wait times, SkyBridge is expected to become a significant economic driver for the region and the state over the next decade. Analysts project the new logistics hub will create more than 17,000 direct and indirect jobs and increase cargo flights out of PMGA.
Once completed, the SkyBridge park will encompass nearly 5 million square feet of office, warehouse, logistics/cargo, hospitality, and retail space. The project sits within an active Foreign Trade Zone and a Military Reuse Zone, both of which provide significant tariff benefits and property tax savings to qualifying companies.