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GSCW chat recap: Flowers, vaccines, perishables power MIA cargo growth

Miami Airport brings logistics competitors together for smooth vaccine distribution

This fireside chat recap is from Day 1 of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week. Day 1 focuses on the military, aerospace and manufacturing.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Gateway to Latin America

DETAILS: Miami International Airport is the cargo hub for the Americas. Flowers, fresh fruit, seafood, machinery and other products transfer there between U.S. destinations and Latin America and Europe. MIA had a record year for cargo in 2020 despite the COVID pandemic. Pineda discusses why Miami continues to grow with cargo operations and how it organized the cargo community to make sure pharmaceutical companies were confident that COVID-19 vaccines could be handled quickly and efficiently.

SPEAKER: Emir Pineda, manager of aviation and trade logistics, Miami-Dade Aviation Department

BIO: Pineda began his career at Miami International Airport in 1988 as an intern and eventually spent 20 years as director of cargo trade development at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, a consultant at Leigh Fisher Associates, marketing director at Air France/KLM Martinair Cargo, and commercial route development manager for Cargolux. He returned to MIA in 2015.


“Last year we experienced a 2.5% increase in cargo volume, so we’re at 2.3 million tons of cargo being handled. That’s a record for us. … We have over 30 freighter operators here at the airport serving over 120 destinations. That obviously helped us when the groundings happened because all that cargo that was in the bellies moved over to the freighter operations.”

“Miami is going to be a key point for the distribution of the [COVID-19] vaccines. We also expect a lot of vaccines to be coming in from Europe and from Asia that will be transiting Miami to Latin America when those vaccines are bought by countries in that part of the world.”

“The airport plays that facilitator role to focus on the common goal of distribution of the vaccines, because saving people’s lives is what it’s all about. The more efficient, the more effective we are in the distribution process the more lives we’re going to be able to save. And that means cooperating and collaborating with each other.”

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at