Monday, September 24, 2018
Business

Tampa International Airport’s cargo volume jumps, with more on the way

TAMPA — Over the last couple of years, the story of the double-digit growth of Tampa International Airport’s cargo business has been a story about Amazon.com.

Once the online retailing giant opened its distribution centers in Ruskin and Lakeland, it needed air service to keep those mega-warehouses stocked. It started with two jets a day in the fall of 2015 and has been growing since. Last week, it added a fifth.

The airport’s numbers reflect that expansion. In 2016, the volume of cargo coming into Tampa grew by more than 38 percent, to more than 587 million pounds. Trends point to a 20 percent increase this year, airport spokeswoman Janet Scherberger said.

And now the narrative and operational tempo are changing as a new player brings more daily cargo flights to the airport.

Last month, UPS moved its bay area operations from the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International, where it became the third major cargo handler at the airport, alongside Amazon and FedEx.

UPS began flying out of Tampa on Monday night, Oct. 16. It had been at the St. Pete-Clearwater airport since 1989, or shortly after the company launched its airline in 1988, and had several reasons for approaching Tampa International about the move:

• Tampa had a space inside a cargo building that was about six times bigger than the space UPS was using at St. Pete-Clearwater. That allowed UPS to move its package-sorting operations indoors. At the Pinellas airport, it had been using an outdoor mobile distribution center.

• An offsite postal handling facility is moving to the airport, which will reduce truck movements.

• Tampa has more room to expand, plus the ability to accommodate larger UPS jets during peak periods.

UPS flies four jets into and four jets out of Tampa every day, the same number that served St. Petersburg. Those four flights — two narrow-body Boeing 757s and two wide-body Airbus A300s — can together carry a total of 430,000 pounds of cargo. Tampa is one of eight airports in Florida served by UPS’s main air hub in Louisville, Ky.

Tampa Bay area customers won’t see any change, UPS Airlines public relations manager Jim Mayer said last week.

"We just switched airports," he said.

With UPS pulling out, however, the St. Pete-Clearwater airport has no cargo operations.

"This presents an opportunity to grow our passenger commercial air service," airport spokeswoman Michele Routh said in an email. That’s a topic certain to get close scrutiny as the Pinellas airport kicks off a study later this month to update its master plan for the first time since 2004.

Last year’s growth brought Tampa International Airport nearly $480,000 more in cargo revenue than it had budgeted, though that’s a small piece of the airport’s overall business. Cargo is expected to account for $4.2 million, or less than 2 percent, of airport revenues during the coming year. By comparison, concessions, parking and passenger-related revenues are budgeted to bring in $69.6 million, $68.3 million and $65.8 million, respectively.

Still, every little bit helps.

"It broadens our revenue stream," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who sits on the board of the Hillsborough Aviation Authority. "I think almost, like the port, the more lines of business that you have, the better off you are."

The growth in cargo is unrelated to the airport’s nearly $1 billion master planned expansion. That program, now under construction, is largely focused on passenger service and amenities, internal airport transportation and adding or upgrading options for renting cars, shopping and dining.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tampa International Airport morphing into a mini-city unto itself

But the airport is encouraging organic growth in cargo in other ways.

This spring, aviation authority board members approved a change to their air service incentive program to attract more domestic cargo freight business by agreeing to waive fees and reimburse carriers for marketing expenses. Previously, only international carriers of cargo had been eligible for the incentives.

One last note about where Tampa ranks in the air cargo ecosystem: Tampa’s cargo business grew enough last year to pass Fort Lauderdale on volume, but its cargo operations are only the 39th biggest in the United States and nowhere near the largest in Florida.

Orlando handles almost twice as much cargo by weight.

And Miami?

More than 13 times as much.

Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

 
Comments
Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

Another public official has set his sights on Marlin Financial. In a letter Tuesday, Rep. Charlie Crist urged the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate the online auto lender, saying he was "disturbed" by a recent Tampa ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Dunkin' to drop Donuts, change name in January

Dunkin' to drop Donuts, change name in January

Dunkin' is dropping the donuts — from its name, anyway.Doughnuts are still on the menu, but the company is renaming itself "Dunkin'" to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and other drinks.The change will officially take place ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
FEMA to hold meetings to unveil new flood zones in Pinellas County

FEMA to hold meetings to unveil new flood zones in Pinellas County

CLEARWATER —The anxiety over flood insurance in Pinellas County could increase now that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has completed a years-long study to update flood zones and create new hazard maps.While still in the review stage, the upd...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Struggling against Red Tide, a Redington Beach liquor store is too small to qualify for local aid

Struggling against Red Tide, a Redington Beach liquor store is too small to qualify for local aid

REDINGTON BEACH — Mark Wilson hasn’t had a customer for hours.As the only liquor store on his stretch of Pinellas County beaches, Wilson is used to a steady stream of tourists from the nearby condos and hotels. Other beachfront businesses affected by...
Published: 09/25/18
Weight Watchers slims its name down to WW

Weight Watchers slims its name down to WW

Weight Watchers is its dropping its brand name in exchange for something slimmer: "WW." The company says the new logo - coupled with the tagline "Wellness that Works" -- puts an emphasis on overall health and well being, with less...
Published: 09/24/18
Study: Some Tampa Bay neighborhoods among quickest selling in the state

Study: Some Tampa Bay neighborhoods among quickest selling in the state

Tampa Bay sounds like a home seller’s dream market — even compared to other locales statewide. According to a recent study by SmartAsset, four of the top 10 easiest places to sell a home in Florida are in the bay area. Northern Hillsborough County ac...
Published: 09/24/18
Lower demand brings slight dip in gas prices across state, Tampa Bay

Lower demand brings slight dip in gas prices across state, Tampa Bay

Just in time for fall, pump prices are finally declining. Gas prices in Florida averaged $2.72 per gallon Monday, down from $2.74 per gallon a week ago, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Tampa Bay prices were even lower at $2.63 per gallon, down...
Published: 09/24/18
SiriusXM to buy Pandora for $3.5 Billion in bid to expand reach

SiriusXM to buy Pandora for $3.5 Billion in bid to expand reach

Satellite radio provider Sirius XM said Monday that it would acquire music streaming service Pandora Media for $3.5 billion in a bid to corral listeners who do not want to pay for premium channels.Pandora rose to success by providing tailored radio s...
Published: 09/24/18
Jeff Vinik invests in gaming headset maker boosted by Fortnite’s popularity

Jeff Vinik invests in gaming headset maker boosted by Fortnite’s popularity

TAMPA — As a mutual fund wonder-boy, hedge fund manager and real estate investor, Jeff Vinik has long displayed a sense for knowing when to put money into the next big thing, and his latest bet on e-sports may be no different.Vink recently bought nea...
Published: 09/24/18
Hernando Business Digest for Sept. 28

Hernando Business Digest for Sept. 28

BrieflyEMPLOYERS NEEDED FOR JOB FAIR: Pasco-Hernando State College, CareerSource Pasco Hernando, the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce and Hernando County Office of Economic Development are seeking employers to participate in the Open for A...
Published: 09/24/18