Brazil prepares for boom
While the economy of the whole continent south of the US border has often been described as "a roller coaster ride", the attention of many industry players is now being firmly grabbed by the logistics opportunities provided by a number of particular countries in South America - and Brazil, it seems, is ahead of the pack.
While playing host to the recent Air Cargo Americas SeaCargo Americas conference and exhibition at the Miami Airport Convention Center between 2 and 4 November, Miami International airport made it clear that the gateway is intent on retaining the top spot in the air cargo trade between the US and the Latin America and Caribbean nations.
Chris Mangos, marketing division director for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, which operates Miami International airport, commented that the gateway will be targeting business development opportunities centered on Easter Europe next year, followed by the Middle East and then Africa.
With much of its air freight moving to and from gateways in Latin America and the Caribbean, Miami International airport handled 1.16 million tons of cargo in the year to the end of August - down by 2.5 percent on the same period a year earlier, but still well on track to maintain the gateway's ranking as the number one airport in the US for international cargo.
There are now many US gateways that would like to challenge Miami for its trade south of the US border. "Our focus is on Latin America," says Kirsti Bennett, director of marketing and business development at Gulfport-Biloxi International airport in Missouri. "The airport has recently been on trade missions to Colombia, Brazil and Panama. We want to promote our facility and let people in Latin America know that we are open for business as a cost-effective air freight gateway to Miami."
"With the forthcoming FIFA World Cup and the Olympics being held in the country, Brazil is the growing market," says Roberto Berrios, marketing manager in the Fort Lauderdale office of global charter broker Chapman Freeborn. "We are boosting our staff in the São Paulo office to cover the amount of requests we are receiving to handle work."
Another company aware of the opportunities in Latin America is the Paris-headquartered global general sales and services agent Air Logistics Group. "It is quite clear that the South American market continues to boom," said chief operating officer Stephen Dawkins.
"We've acted as GSA for Qatar Airways in Brazil for two years now and we are currently on the acquisition trail to expand our coverage in South America," he commented while visiting the Air Cargo Americas event.
A recent flurry of direct charter flights being introduced to Cuba from Florida airports was scheduled to increase yesterday (13 November), with Delta Air Lines due to operate a flight from Miami to Havana on behalf of travel agency Marazul.