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Vancouver Airport infrastructure developments to boost customs and security


Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is strengthening its airport customs and security with the development of three new infrastructure projects. YVR’s Jason Tse, cargo development manager, gave Air Cargo World the inside scoop on these upcoming projects and further discussions the airport is having with partners for long-term growth.


To support short-term growth of cargo business at YVR, the airport is currently building three infrastructure projects, each set to launch over the next year. These include:


  • Expansion of YVR’s Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) facility;

  • Launching a “locked” cargo facility; and

  • Opening a new holding space for unit loading devices (ULDs) beneath the upcoming international terminal expansion.


For the first of the three projects, YVR is expanding the airport’s Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) building to around 21,000 square feet in size, marking a 50% increase in space compared to the former facility. The new facility is intended to strengthen security operations at the airport. YVR broke ground on the project in the fourth quarter of 2019, which will be constructed phases with final completion of the facility expected at the end of 2020.


The airport also began construction on a 50,0000 square foot “cargolock” facility in 4Q19 that is intended to improve landside security and congestion. The facility will include swinging doors in special configurations to eliminate the intermingling of screened and unscreened cargo handlers. The expanded space will also allow for a larger x-ray machine to screen cargo without the need to disassemble cargo loads each time, Tse noted. This will help facilitate more efficient flow of cargo between the cargo terminal and cargo apron by easing congestion at security checkpoints. The facility is planned to come online by the beginning of second quarter of 2020.


Third of the infrastructure projects YVR has coming online in 2020 is the opening of a unit loading device (ULD) holding area under the airport’s upcoming international terminal expansion. Space under the expanded terminal, which is being increased to add more than 65,000 square feet to the complex’s existing space of around 918,000 square feet, will be designated as a holding area for ULDs. The space is intended to eliminate the need of transferring ULDs back and forth to the cargo terminal. YVR specified that temperature and angle of the sun on warm days will determine the length of time that perishables can stay in the facility. Construction on the space began in 2017 and is set to open in Summer next year.


Beyond its work on airport infrastructure, YVR is also working with economic and trade development partners to grow cargo business at the airport. As part of this work, YVR is currently working with carriers and freight forwarders to promote cargo flows between East Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America.


“We have aspirations of getting a non-stop service into Southeast Asia and are also looking at developing connections to South America to strengthen our presence as a gateway between the Americas and Asia Pacific,” said Tse.


With several free trade agreements coming into focus in global news, Tse commented YVR would like to see the expansion of the new Comprehensive and Progressive Transpacific Partnership agreement (CPTPP) to create free trade agreements between Canada and mature and emerging markets, like Japan and Southeast Asia, respectively. YVR also supports the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).


“These agreements align quite well with our expansion strategy and would increase the value proposition of air cargo trade lanes between YVR and these regions,” Tse said.

While these projects will support cargo flows in the short run, the airport is also discussing best strategies for long-term growth with other airports worldwide, including Singapore (SIN) and Miami (MIA), according to Tse. Further details regarding these projects are yet to be determined but are likely to emerge over the coming year.


Subscribe to the Cargo Airport Growth Summit email list for more news and event updates. The Cargo Airport Growth Summit, a new event diving into the strategies airport executives need to improve their value proposition to carriers and forwarders, will take place June 3-4 at the Conrad Miami. For more information on the event, visit www.CargoAirportGrowthSummit.com.

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