Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is undergoing something of an economic renaissance, and a recent partnership between Sri Lanka-based freight forwarder Expo Freight (EFL) and Qatar Airways Cargo highlights the city’s efforts to become a relevant player in global logistics.
EFL has committed to making Pittsburgh International Airport its latest cargo distribution center. The forwarder will send goods from Doha on one of Qatar Airways Cargo’s weekly nonstop freighters.
“We see the Americas as an important cargo market,” Qatar Airways Senior Vice President of Cargo Sales Peter Penseel said. “Our freighter services to Pittsburgh are doing extremely well and help connect global markets to the region, while also offering businesses in Pennsylvania direct uplift to our growing cargo network.”
The announcement comes as Qatar Airways Cargo nears its two-year anniversary at the airport.
“With additional volume coming to Pittsburgh, the region is able to build upon the foundation of EFL’s business and create the critical mass that allows the region to be more competitive with the current supply chain atmosphere,” according to Bob Kerlik, vice president of media relations for Pittsburgh International Airport. “With this additional volume, companies that may be looking to open offices or operations in Pittsburgh now have increased confidence that there will be enough volume to support their business.”
While the partnership could help catapult Pittsburgh into the limelight, it also offers customers in Asia a solution for 72-hour transit time from the Asia-Pacific region to retail stores in the United States, according to a media release from Allegheny County Airport Authority.
Senthil Shanmugam, EFL’s group chief executive officer, said Pittsburgh was a logical choice because it allows quicker turnover of cargo than in busier, more congested airports.
Located between Chicago and New York, Pittsburgh offers quick and easy access to two of the largest air cargo markets in the nation.
“Today’s announcement continues moving the airport corridor forward as a manufacturing and distribution hub. As Pittsburgh strives to make additional connections to the global marketplace, this is a big step along that path,” Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald sees EFL’s commitment to move freight through Pittsburgh as a harbinger of more growth in the area. A 2018 study by the Economic Development Research Group found that the Qatar Airways Cargo flights to Pittsburgh provided $42.8 million of annual economic output for the region, supporting 265 additional jobs, according to the media release.
“The success of Qatar Airways, and the partnership with EFL, strengthens our ability to attract manufacturing and distribution to the airport,” Fitzgerald said. “We are planting the seeds for manufacturing, distribution, logistics and connectivity in the global marketplace. We are excited to see it bear much fruit in the years to come, and to see the growth of jobs in these areas continue.”
Kerlik expects EFL’s presence in Pittsburgh to bring additional efficiency and reliability to the logistics and transportation supply chain because the goods will be moving through an uncongested airport within reach of major metropolitan markets.
“We feel this makes companies that use this route more competitive by offering a faster and easier option,” Kerlik said. “Our vision for this partnership is to be able to add additional efficiency and unmatched speed, which saves airlines, forwarders and shippers time and money into and out of North America.”