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MIAMI: May 26, 2016. Miami International Airport (MIA) wants to establish itself as a free trade zone in 2017 as part of a goal to being a global air cargo hub, according to airport director Emilio Gonzales.

Gonzales said MIA continues to grow and last year produced an economic impact of US$34 billion as the only U.S. airport serving more than 100 air carriers – adding six more in 2015.

MIA pharma hub"Equally impressive was air cargo, we are still the number two airport in the USA for cargo. Last year we added Trans Cargo and Ocean Air - we now serve 41 all freight airlines to 106 destinations," he declared.

Gonzales said there had been a "significant" rise in non-traditional cargo in 2015, including US$100 billion of arts and antiques, US$2.3 billion of medical equipment and US$3.3 billion worth of pharma - which the airport said it was “looking to grow considerably".

Acknowledging MIA’s cargo facilities needed modernizing, he said the airport recognized the importance of air cargo: We are invested in air cargo and we are going to grow [it] to where it should be. We want to make sure that what we do is what people need and want."

Gonzales added MIA was working towards taking a more proactive role in air cargo and was in discussion with several more major carriers.

"We are a global air cargo hub but not a global air cargo facility. But we have 400,000 sq.ft. available and we are going to invest in this and change this.

We have to engage the ground transportation folks, it would be criminal if we didn't," he added. "We cannot do this by ourselves and we understand that."

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