Package delivery giant UPS this week confirmed it is planning a potential $110 million expansion at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the latest in a surge of proposals for new warehouse and cargo space at the airport.
The UPS plan is one of five new projects announced in recent months by the airport, some of them larger than UPS’s proposal. Totaling about $700 million in investment, the proposals would boost Anchorage’s economy if they advance to the construction phase, officials said.
UPS, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is looking to lease an additional 1.35 million square feet of land at the north side of the airport — enough to fit more than 20 football fields. The expansion in part will support UPS’s growing fleet of Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets, UPS company spokesman Mike Mangeot said Tuesday.
The proposed expansion would “accommodate future growth and efficiency” for UPS, Mangeot said in an email Tuesday.
Anchorage is the gateway to Asia and a vital point in UPS’s global air network, Mangeot said.
“While the public filing shows the potential for $110 million in structures, UPS has not finalized plans for the parcel (of land),” Mangeot said.
Alaska CargoPort founder Ray Brimble said Anchorage International has performed well in recent years compared to other North American airports, in terms of tons of freight moving through. The airport is the fifth-busiest air cargo hub in the world.
The airport is poised to benefit from growth in long-term e-commerce demand and weather ongoing trade disputes, he said.
“It’s an extremely efficient place to stop for cargo coming and going from Asia,” he said.
Bill Popp, president of Anchorage Economic Development Corp., said the airport and the development corporation have been marketing the airport’s advantages to companies.
Anchorage is one of the world’s few airports where foreign cargo can be transferred between aircraft without being subject to customs and other trade requirements. That saves shippers time and money.
“There is always an ongoing race in the air cargo industry to figure out ways to do things less expensively,” Popp said. “So it’s a constant competition to see who can deliver product on time at a lower cost.”
Other proposed projects include:
The five projects could add up to 1,500 jobs after construction, said airport manager Jim Szczesniak.
The airport is currently negotiating leases with the companies, he said. Each of them would like to start preparing land for construction this summer, he said.
“Hopefully all these projects succeed,” Szczesniak said.
If one falls through, the state will look for other companies interested in leasing land at the airport.
“Our goal is not just five projects,” he said. “There’s a tremendous asset here and we’re going to maximize it.”