​Port of Seattle fuels economy with millions of pounds of cherries shipped through Sea-Tac Airport

Published on : Friday, June 24, 2016

logo_newsA whole lot more air cargo planes will be visiting Seattle-Tacoma International Airport over the next two months as “cherry season” goes into full bloom. The exports mean a big economic benefit at the airport and across the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, the total international cherry volume through Sea-Tac Airport was 30 million pounds with a declared value of $85 million.


Exports to Asia in July, primarily cherries, can be five times the amount of tonnage shipped on the most active airline at Sea-Tac. Other Asia airlines usually have volume increases of two to three times their normal monthly tonnage. Approximately 220,000 pounds of cherries can be loaded into a 747-400 freighter, one of the most common cargo planes at Sea-Tac. Click here for more cherry air cargo/economic benefit stats.


“With our expanded cargo facilities, we’re more than able to accommodate the increase of planes taking cherries to international destinations,” said Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton. “We are proud to support jobs across the state by partnering with the Northwest Cherry Growers and our cargo carriers to bring the freshest Pacific Northwest cherries from Washington orchards to consumers across the globe.”



Part of the Washington State Fruit Commission, Northwest Cherry Growers represent more than 2,500 cherry growers in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Montana and Idaho. Employment created by the Northwest cherry harvest is estimated at 19,000 jobs and the estimated local economic impact from the Northwest cherry industry in 2015 was $540 million.


“Our growers and associated businesses depend on exports and Sea-Tac is a valued partner in our success,” said Northwest Cherry Growers internal operations director Keith Hu. “Nearly 31 percent of the Northwest cherry crop was exported in 2015, the vast majority going to Asian countries. Consumers at home and abroad expect fresh and delicious Northwest cherries and we’re hopeful 2016 will be another banner year.”


Approximately 20 percent of the total crop is exported outside of North America, 98 percent being shipped via air cargo. Northwest Cherry export sales averaged $267 million for the past five years. In the past five seasons, the Northwest Cherry industry packed and sold an average of 196,000 tons of fresh sweet cherries, reaching an all-time high of 232,000 tons in 2014.



Last year, the Port spent $23 million to expand two cargo areas at Sea-Tac aimed to increase international trade-related business for cargo and allow more capacity for larger freighter aircraft. In 2015, total air cargo increased for the fourth straight year by 1.7 percent to 332,636 metric tons, including a 7.1 percent jump in international freight to set another record at 115,357 metric tons.


Air cargo is an economic driver across the Pacific Northwest. An estimated $12.7 billion worth of air freight is exported to domestic and international markets through Sea-Tac each year, while another $13.6 billion is imported. Air freight shipped through Sea-Tac is related to 119,685 jobs representing over $5.5 billion in wages and salaries and $521 million in state and local taxes. The total economic value in Washington State associated with the air freight loaded at Sea-Tac is estimated to be $22.7 billion.



Source:- Port Of Seattle

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