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Edmonton woos cherry growers

Airport’s ‘cargo village’ geared up to provide export services to China.

By Judie Steeves E

dmonton International Airport is positioned to help B.C. cherry growers ship their perishable fruit directly to China, with temperature-controlled warehouses located just a couple of hundred yards from the largest industrial road carrier in Canada. Norm Richard, director of Air Service Development for EIA, told cherry growers this spring that Air China Cargo began flying regularly last fall between Edmonton and Shanghai on a three-times-a-week circuit. From there, there are connections beyond Shanghai and Tianjin.

It is one of the world’s top cargo carriers, with 172 destinations and this is its first scheduled Canadian freighter service.

“You have more cherries here than people,” he commented, adding, “There’s good demand in China for cherries and 90 per cent of Canada’s cherry production is in B.C., within easy trucking distance of EIA.” The airport’s cargo village includes Canada Customs, warehousing and distribution centre as well as road and airline carriers, he said. “We’d like to compete for your business,” he added.

Richard told growers Edmonton has a strong foundation for air cargo, including the oil and gas industry, energy tech manufacturing, meat, livestock, precious stones and metals and perishables.

As well, he noted there’s significant Asian investment in Alberta. Canadian honey is also a strong brand and Japan and China are the second and third biggest export markets from Canada, with 43 per cent of Canada’s honey production in Alberta.

10 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2016 “We’ve Norm Richard

developed the gateway into Asia, with a cargo network throughout the world. Our cargo facilities are 24/7 with no

operational restrictions; Code F aircraft capable; stand-alone cargo aprons, and the largest hangar in Alberta,” he said.

There’s a broad cargo mix, with cranes as well as ground-handling equipment; so even perishables and live animals are shipped.

EIA is a self-funded, not-for-profit corporation whose mandate is to drive economic prosperity for the Edmonton region.

It has been Canada’s fastest- growing major airport during the last 10 years.

EIA Cargo has achieved five consecutive years of volume growth, totalling 26 per cent over that period. The airport is nine or 10 hours by truck from Kelowna.

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