Cargo hub at Shannon Airport ‘key’ to allowing firms access export markets

The development of a cargo hub at Shannon Airport will be key to not only supporting companies across the west of Ireland but in accessing major emerging markets such as China, a global aviation conference in Limerick heard yesterday.

Patrick Edmond, newly appointed managing director of the Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), said there is real potential to develop Shannon into an international crossroads for cargo. He was speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cargo conference at the Strand Hotel in Limerick.

The conference, attended by more than 350 delegates from around the world, is the first to be held by IATA in the Mid-West since the early 1980s. IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 240 airlines in over 115 countries.

Carrying 84% of the world’s air traffic, IATA members include the world’s leading passenger and cargo airlines.

“We are in the early stages of developing IASC, which will build on the existing cluster of 40 aviation-related businesses at Shannon, and we see very strong potential within that for a cargo hub.

“There are many opportunities that would arise from this, through job creation in the region and business for Shannon but also the support it would provide for Irish exporters in accessing markets that are currently challenging,” Mr Edmond said.

“For example, there are seafood producers across the west of Ireland who have product that is much sought after in China but cannot get that product to China quickly. A cargo hub at Shannon would be of huge benefit to these exporters and the same applies across many sectors.

“A cargo terminal is part of our long-term planning,” Mr Edmond added.

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