Back – with a new perspective
A long, long time ago Emir Pineda began his career as an intern at Miami airport, working for the hub for ten years. He then pursued his professional path in private enterprise for almost 20 years, before returning to the aviation gateway that is so crucial to Latin America three years ago. At the Mumbai trade fair recently he told ITJ editor Andreas Haug about the airport’s international trade prospects.
What brought you back to your old stomping ground in Miami, Mr Pineda?
A lot of very exciting developments have transformed aviation in general and Miami in particular since I left the industry. Personally, I’d reached a point where I was keen to work in a stable position with multifaceted tasks. So we soon came to a deal.
Here you are – representing the only US airport with its own stand at Air Cargo India.
Well, for us India is a key strategic market. Even if we don’t have any direct links here, the country remains Miami’s largest regional trading partner, handling goods weighing 3,249 t and worth USD 234 million, primarily as an exporter of pharmaceutical products (617 t). This segment has, in any case, been at the forefront of our interest for many years now. On top of this, middle class consumption is growing here, so it seemed important to us to make some contacts here now. We won’t be setting up a direct link to and from India tomorrow – but you can bet on it for five or ten years from now.
Who are the key cargo players between Asia and Miami?
In the past most trade was conducted via Europe. But two new transfer channels have come about of late, with both Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways offering both belly-hold as well as main-deck capacities today. Apart from that there are four other Asian players in the market – namely Asiana and Korean Airlines in South Korea, China Airlines in Taiwan and Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong.
Let’s have a look at today’s most important markets for Miami (see box). In February the USA’s department of commerce gave the green light for the establishment of foreign trade zone 281 in the airport. What does this signify?
That this 13 sqkm FTZ 281 ‘magnet site’ may attract firms seeking to import or process goods there at reduced – or even abolished – customs rates. This means we can attract firms that specialise in specific fields.
Staying in pharmaceuticals, medicine from India in transit for Brazil used to have to be cleared through customs thrice, for example – the medicines themselves, their packaging as well as the instruction insert translated into Portuguese. This effort, with its concomitant costs, can now be done away with if the work is done inside the FTZ.
What are the advantages of establishing an FTZ at the airport?
The value that is added for potential customers consists of them benefiting from the security standards that govern airport operations, as well as the fact that they won’t incur any additional logistics costs. Not every trading partner necessarily needs this, however. The option is aimed, amongst others, at companies in high-value segments.
Have you got enough space for them?
That’s a good question, in the light of the fact that our volumes have grown by around 3% to more than 2 million t of late! We actually did have a lot more warehousing space available about 18 months back, when we launched this project. As I said, though, we’re looking for companies that trade in high-value products – these usually don’t take up quite so much space.