By Tom PETERS
If you are a shipper of seafood or any other perishable products, Gateway Facilities ULC at Halifax Stanfield International Airport can offer you some cold comfort. Literally! The 40,000-square foot warehouse facility opened in June 2010, contains 7,000 square feet of temperature controlled space just minutes from waiting cargo aircraft. It is a feature unique to Atlantic Canada, and in fact, unique all the way down the east coast to Florida.
“What makes Gateway unique,” says Doug McRae, who along with partner Steve Christiansen developed the facility, is this is a multi-tenant warehouse with lots of cold storage located on a runway apron. “We can bring the aircraft from the runway and park it adjacent to the refrigerated space. The advantage of that is we receive the cargo from the exporters, we immediately build the loads in air containers or on pallets in the refrigerated space,” he said. When the cargo is ready, it is moved to the aircraft just two minutes away.
“It might take another five or ten minutes get it on the plane but once on the plane, like a Cargojet aircraft for example, which is refrigerated, you really do have what I call a legitimate cold chain,” said McRae. “In a lot of places, carriers and ground handlers will say they have cool space but they certainly can’t refrigerate 30 to 40 tonnes like we can,” he said. Temperature in the facility is controlled according to the perishable products inside but normal operation is between 2 degrees and 5 degrees Celsius, said McRae, and the facility can serve up to three aircraft at one time.
McRae said the only two other airports he was able to find that operate cold storage facilities next to a runway were in Miami and Los Angeles. For Atlantic Canada, which is major shipper of fresh and live seafood, the $8 million facility is a major plus. Halifax airport handled approximately 29,000 tonnes of air cargo in 2011. Airport officials say approximately 60 per cent of that was perishable goods and although McRae didn’t want to release figures, he did acknowledge that a substantial percentage the perishable products are moved through Gateway Facilities.
Halifax International Airport Authority, which worked with Gateway on the project developing the apron and taxi way, knows the critical value of Gateway Facilities. “Having 7,000 square feet of advanced temperature-controlled cargo space immediately adjacent to our newly-extended main runway (8,800 feet to 10,500 feet) gives Halifax Stanfield a terrific advantage in shipping perishable goods,” said Jerry Staples, the Authority’s Vice-President Air Service Development and Marketing. “Being the closest major North American airport to Europe, sitting on one of the world’s richest seafood resources, having no operational curfew restrictions and offering 24/7 customs service, further enhances the many advantages we offer exporters and importers.”
There has been increased cargo business through the airport in the past few years and airport officials attribute much of the increase to Gateway Facilities. However, McRae wasn’t quick to take credit. “We have seen a substantial increase in China starting to consume significant quantities of Canadian lobster and we have experienced growth as result of that,” he said. “But really what we have achieved here, in addition to that growth, is the quality of the product arriving overseas as result of being handled properly. It is to everybody’s advantage, from the harvesters, to the exporters, to the freight forwarders to the carriers and the importers, because if you are doing a better job maintaining temperature, then the results are better,” he said.
Gateway Facilities handles cargo for five carriers on a daily basis and during peak periods, like Christmas, brings in additional carriers to handle the greater lobster demand, up to 500 tonnes or about five, 747 loads, mostly to Europe.
There are discussions underway with two additional dedicated cargo carriers that are keen on the cold storage available at Gateway. The discussions are serious but it is “Really about creating the business model to bring them in,” said McRae. And bringing them in would mean into the cold.
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Gateway Facilities appreciates our clients continuing support and would like to ask our valued clients to vote for us in the Wings Magazine’s 2013 Canadian FBO Survey at the following link and you’ll have a chance to win a Sennheiser MM 550 Travel Premium Wireless Headset with NoiseGard 2.0 Active Noise Cancelling and Bluetooth (a $650 value) being awarded by Wings Magazine.
One of our friendly clients chose to include us in his article in Flying Magazine. We're happy to have served them in the past and look forward to doing so again.
"The Gateway FBO is way down Taxiway Alpha, which turns into Taxiway Juliet, which segues into Taxiway Kilo, which pretty much completesthe 180-degree turn back to heading of 050, out of sight from the tower. After shutdown, we were met by Sarah Stewart, who was sporting a winning smile and a helpful countenance."
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We're very proud to say we are HUGE supporters of the Runway Extension at HSIA and look forward to the new potential this extension opens up to all of our Aviation related businesses! From heavy aircraft landings, to Seafood export, we are excited with the developments throughout the airport and all of the new opportunities created for the Martime economy.
While Gateway remains a huge supporter of the Runway Extension, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport has been an enormous supporter of our Facility from the start. In the video posted below, you can cleary see some of Gateway's cargo-related operations in a rather interesting perspective. Filming took place in our facility, on our apron, and in cooperation with a significant number of our staff. It is with great pleasure we give you the following link to view the video the Airport has had produced.
Follow the link below to take a look at some of the great things the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and its partners have been up to over the last little while.
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FBO Tel: (902) 873-1900Cargo Tel: (902) 873-3627Air Freq: 129.1
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