Phoenix airport creates ‘SkyBridge Arizona’ hub for U.S., Mexico customs

In a bid to better facilitate cross-border e-commerce, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced plans to create “SkyBridge Arizona” to house customs operations for the United States and Mexico at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA).

The formation of SkyBridge Arizona includes historic agreements between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mexico’s Administracion General de Aduanas and AZA, to create the first and only inland international air logistics and processing hub with Mexico. Shippers will be able to send products from AZA to anywhere in Mexico without needing to go through the Mexico City customs center.

Currently, products shipped between the U.S. and Mexico are processed through the Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) pilot program, operated between U.S. and Mexico customs, which approves incoming and outgoing freight at AZA bound for customers on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. The UCP pilot program began last year in Nogales, Arizona.

Following its expansion to Phoenix through the SkyBridge program, all necessary customs processes will occur on-site at AZA. Customs will be able to follow packages and cargo electronically to any city in Mexico, and eventually further into Central and South America. The program will be expanded to AZA over the coming months.

Airfreight between Arizona and Mexico increased 30 percent per year from 2011 to 2015 and currently totals about US$390 million per year, with the expectation that it will reach $650 million by 2025. The launch of SkyBridge Arizona is expected to increase annual cargo flights at the airport by 2,000 per year.

“Consumers in Latin America want the ability to purchase goods online and receive them the next day – SkyBridge Arizona will make that a reality,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles.

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