Saturday, May 18, 2024
Dual operations

Dual operations

As passenger travel returns to normality, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) has positioned itself to prepare for the dual opportunity presented by people and airfreight in the post-pandemic era.

Since 2019, GSP has constructed a 160,000-square-foot cargo facility and over 30 acres of parking ramp to support cargo operations handled by the airport’s commercial aviation division.  

Simultaneously, GSP has invested millions into terminal roadway and vehicle parking improvements to serve an anticipated record number of passengers in 2024. 

“GSP has been intentional with its capital improvement plans, which allows the facility to have ample capacity to handle rising passenger and cargo operations simultaneously,” Peter Gross, GSP’s Cargo Development Manager, said. “Advance planning has been key to achieving that balance.

“Forward-thinking and innovative service providers like us must plan ahead to ensure what we offer is relevant and competitive.  GSP has dedicated staff to continuous business development for our operations. 

“This includes identifying opportunities best suited by our partners, assessing new infrastructure needs, and engaging with customers to understand their needs. After all, we believe the best competitive advantage lies in our exceptional service, convenience and efficiency.” 

Twin-purpose

GSP offers approximately 100 daily passenger flights to 25 destinations on eight scheduled airlines. This level of service has allowed the airport to be an attractive asset to economic development agencies and site selectors considering investing in the region. Beyond passenger service, the hub’s cargo operations are a major driver of economic development in the region.  

Centrally located between Atlanta and Charlotte on the busy I-85 corridor, GSP does not suffer from congestion in the air or on the ground. With many large manufacturers in the region that rely on the hub’s air cargo options, we offer convenient access to rail and deep water port access nearby, allowing GSP and the Upstate South Carolina region to be a significant logistics player in the US.

“With an 11,001-foot runway, favourable  year-round weather and a convenient location in the southeast of America, GSP offers ample capacity to handle cargo development for many years to come, opening the doors for the region to compete for business that other communities in our region are not in the position to compete for,” Gross said.

“In 2023, GSP was responsible for $5.9 billion in international trade, and we continue to offer the only scheduled international cargo flights in the Carolinas.”

READ: Becoming a ULD industry leader

Intermodal connectivity

GSP presents itself as a convenient alternative to larger, busier cargo gateways, where an airline or freight forwarder’s shipment is one of many moving through. 

“At GSP, every shipment gets our full attention,” Gross stated proudly. “We work directly with shippers and airlines and propose ways to reduce costs or expedite processing.  GSP has earned a reputation as a flexible partner, willing to handle unique shipments and custom orders.  

“From luxury sports cars, horses, cows, helicopters, turbines and aircraft parts, we have shipped them all.  This flexibility and attention to service has allowed us to win service and maintain customers over time.”

Located just minutes away from the South Carolina Inland Port, which provides a direct rail link between the Upstate South Carolina region and the deep water port at Charleston, and with convenient access to Interstates 85 and 26, GSP allows manufacturers and shippers to have multiple options for moving product in and out of the region. 

This multimodal network also creates a backstop for companies facing production issues or supply chains, ensuring the region’s role as a productive engine for logistics and advanced manufacturing and companies with the best set up to ensure continuity with shipments and deliveries.  

“This combination has proven to be highly beneficial; this seamless connectivity even attracts international shipments destined to customers outside of South Carolina, who leverage GSP’s speed and efficiency,” Gross emphasised.

READ: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport celebrates expansion of cargo facility

Barriers and booming segments

Economic factors pose the biggest threat to operations at GSP, as with many airports.  When shipping rates for road or ocean decrease,  air freight becomes a less competitive option unless a company is under a deadline or has a unique need.  While there is no comparison to the convenience and efficiency of air, ocean, rail, and road may become more viable options for non-time-sensitive shipments.  

“Our location, infrastructure, personnel and expertise provide far more opportunities than threats for GSP. We do not see a significant threat to our operation due to lack of capacity or the ability to expand to meet demand,” Gross posed.

“We see opportunities in cool chain, pharma, clothing, aerospace, live animals and unique international or oversized shipments.  We have the facilities and the expertise to handle these products, and we are open to discussions with business partners about collaborations that will allow us to grow these operations in the Southeast US region from GSP.”

GSP growth

There has always been a strong demand to and from Europe, particularly Germany, and GSP is looking at opportunities to expand its European reach with multiple airports, customers and commodities.  Asia is also emerging as a growth sector, with recently added scheduled service to Korea and China, and additional potential in Mexico.  

 “GSP remains focused on providing our customers with the best overall experience we can with every shipment,  knowing that in air cargo, your reputation rests on your last one,” Gross outlined. 

“That’s why we are continuously striving for improvement.  We see great potential to expand into domestic cargo operations in addition to international cargo.  We can see a future where GSP will be a regional leader in cool chain logistics.

“We actively evaluate technology and innovation to determine if they can enhance the customer experience with our operations.  We think we are really just at the beginning of harnessing all that digitalisation and technology can provide us and our customers.”

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on Edward.Hardy@AirCargoWeek.com

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