Williams Gateway Airport is one step closer to becoming a major freight transport hub in the Valley with the arrival of Gateway Logistics de Mesa, a bonded warehousing operation.
The company is important to the airport's growth because it has approvals from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to act as a holding company for arriving foreign freight, said Marie Frank, Williams Gateway's marketing director.
Such warehouse space is essential because all arriving international cargo must be removed from a plane and held until it can be inspected by customs officials before being shipped elsewhere in the United States, Frank said.
Williams Gateway's executive director, Lynn Kusy, said the airport's growth plans call for extensive development of freight and shipment services to complement those at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and relieve overcrowding there.
"We're excited about having this (company) on-site,” Kusy said. “We're working really hard to develop cargo and especially international cargo operations here. We have U.S. Customs on-site and we've just finished construction of a cargo apron where we can accommodate large international freighters."
In its infancy, Gateway Logistics is working with the airport's customs office and airlines to accept arriving foreign freight on an on-call, as-needed basis, said Phillip Austin, the company's managing partner.
"With the opening of our business, it's the hope that there will be more and more traffic here," Austin said.
Gateway Logistics has 400 square feet of interior warehouse space and 4,000 square feet of secured outdoor space available for arriving cargo. For now, the company can ship smaller cargo loads to destinations across the East Valley using vans and small trucks.
But the firm also has plans for growth and will lease part of a 25,000-square-foot warehouse to be built at the airport by Scottsdale-based Himovitz Properties, Austin said.
Fred Himovitz, owner of the Scottsdale firm, said crews should break ground in July and the building should be finished within six months.
"It's being designed to accommodate all types of cargo, from frozen foods to refrigerated items,” Himovitz said. “There will be room for dry storage and assembly and processing."
The warehouse is the first phase of an 80,000-square-foot warehouse and office project and will be the seventh building to be constructed by Himovitz Properties at Williams Gateway, he said.