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Arizona plans bridge not wall with Mexico

PHOENIX, AZ: January 06, 2018: As Donald Trump seeks US$18 billion from the U.S. Congress to build his border wall with Mexico, Arizona's Republican governor Doug Ducey has announced the launch of 'SkyBridge Arizona', a new air cargo hub at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport that will include both Mexico and U.S. Customs facilities.

In November Mesa SkyBridge was selected to develop a new logistics-related business park on 360 acres at the regional gateway, some 20 miles southeast of Phoenix. The company has said it will spend US$20 - US$25 million to leverage the airport's three 10,000 ft. runways that are 162 miles from Mexico's border town of Nogales.

"Consumers in Latin America want the ability to purchase goods online and receive them the next day - SkyBridge Arizona will make that a reality," said Mesa city mayor John Giles. "This project will transform Mesa into an international eCommerce hub, benefiting not only our city but also our state and the Arizona-Mexico region as a whole."

Skybridge AZWith a focus on shipping high value goods between the U.S., Mexico and Latin America, the new trade enabler is expected to create 17,000 direct and indirect jobs and lead to 10,000 cargo flights a year by 2036.

Commenting on the project Ducey said: "Arizona has forged an incredible relationship with our friends and neighbors in Mexico, and we're very proud of this latest collaboration to enhance international trade and create more jobs for Arizonans."

The move follows an agreement between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mexico's Administracion General de Aduanas, and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to introduce a Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) program to pre-clear shipments for customers on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.

"SkyBridge will truly change the way we conduct cross-border business, slashing delivery times for companies and ensuring safe transit," said SkyBridge CEO Ariel Picker. "This is true international cooperation and something we can all be proud of."

The Customs pre-clearance process will track packages and cargo to their final destination in any city in Mexico and eventually cities in Central and South America.

According to recent data, airfreight traffic between Arizona and Mexico grew 30 percent a year between 2011 to 2015 and is currently valued at US$390 million – a figure expected to rise to US$650 million by 2025.

"SkyBridge significantly changes the profile of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport from a convenient regional transportation hub to a powerful economic engine that promises true regional growth during the next two decades – and beyond," said Jose Pablo Martinez Buentello, SkyBridge Arizona project manager. "In short, SkyBridge Arizona is a 'game-changer.'"

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