• Miami International Airport has plans to double air cargo warehousing space.

• Floral imports are blooming and warehouse space is running out.

A refrigerated cooler filled with flowers for Mother’s Day at Miami International Airport
A refrigerated cooler filled with flowers for Mother’s Day at Miami International Airport

Driven in large part by burgeoning volumes of fresh cut flower imports, the Miami International Airport has plans to expand air cargo warehousing space.

As a center for Western Hemisphere air commerce, Miami has long been a bastion for passenger and cargo business between Latin America and North America.

Now, according to Jimmy Nares, section chief aviation marketing, Miami Dade Aviation Department, the airport is preparing to greatly expand its cargo space. The aviation department of the Miami-Dade County government owns, operates, and manages Miami International Airport (MIA).

Nares explained in late April, “MIA is rapidly approaching its cargo capacity. To keep up with forecasted growth in cargo, we are implementing capital improvement programs, including building the multilevel cargo facility – a Vertical Integrated Cargo Community - on our airport grounds. We expect to break ground next year and for the project to be completed in 2027. Once the project is completed, we will approximately double our current on-airport cargo capacity.”

Jimmy Nares, section chief aviation marketing, Miami Dade Aviation
Jimmy Nares, section chief aviation marketing, Miami Dade Aviation

He explained, “We are facilitating demand for cargo. Four or five years ago, it was predicted that we would need to double capacity within the next five or ten years.”

Nares told AJOT that warehousing expansion of the Miami airport must be vertical because there is insufficient real estate available for a horizontal extension.

“The airport is land locked with cities and highways, so, using the Hong Kong airport as a model, we’re building a vertical cargo facility.”

An airport location obviously must have a limit on height, but engineers are now planning a four-story building to “be arranged so as not to interfere with air traffic.”

The name “Vertically Integrated Cargo Community” is the builder’s patented nomenclature. It uses the acronym VICC.

“We will knock down some of the older warehouse facilities and build new,” Nares noted. The cargo community will gain two million square feet of general cargo space on the airport.

Imports Dominate MIA’s Perishable Volumes

Nares said that imports dominate MIA’s perishable volume. Central America, South America and the Caribbean are primary sources of perishables.

Because of its cut flower trade, Colombia is the top volume source for perishables entering Miami International Airport.

With its cut flower exports, Ecuador is the second perishables exporter to Miami Airport. Ranked third on MIA’s perishables chart is Chilean seafood. Central American countries follow in volume ranking.

Nares said that, over the last five or ten years, Miami has received between 88 and 91% of all fresh…

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