Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ministry of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation leading project to make Belize an air cargo hub


The Ministry of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation (MBECA) is working on a long-term project to create an air cargo hub in Belize. This initiative is led by MBECA’s Minister, the Honourable Andre Perez, who, along with the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora and Finance, will develop a roadmap within the next four weeks. This project aims to create another potential industry, create thousands of jobs and turn Belize into an important and strategic destination for the aviation industry.
In an exclusive interview with The San Pedro Sun, Minister Perez explained that it would take some years for this project to come to fruition but will tremendously benefit the country’s economy in the long run. “We have to take advantage of our geographical location,” said Perez. “The idea of an air cargo hub will eventually bring in the maintenance section of maintenance. But for this idea to be successful, we need to plan from now, start with the first step that can accommodate the second, third, and other phases of the project. This has a long-term project of growth.”
One of the discussions investigated by a recently formed task force headed by Perez is where this air cargo facility would be established. “It can be rather expanding the existing facilities at the Philip Goldson International Airport north of Belize City, or other places across the country away from the international airport. These are options on the table; nothing is written in stone saying that we are going to build a new airport, but the aim is to establish a cargo facility,” said Perez. The minister added that Belize needs to pounce on this opportunity before another country in the region (Central America) does.
This aviation project will take approximately 15 years to fully mature. Perez believes it will positively impact Belize’s economy and help to diversify the economy. Perez explained that civil aviation, such as tourism and agriculture in Belize, should be a priority. He continued by saying that as the tourism numbers increase yearly and the demand for more products (food, equipment, etc.) grows, air cargo will become a significant necessity in Belize. “But we have to start as of now to be prepared for the future’s demands in this industry,” said Perez.
Main benefits of Air Cargo facilities
Food security is vital for any country, and according to Perez, distribution centers can be established in Belize with the cargo hub. In this facility, goods and equipment can be collected from other parts of Central America and then transported to other countries in the Caribbean and vice versa.
Additionally, Perez stated that since Belize stands in a vulnerable area threatened yearly by potential hurricanes, an air cargo hub is of great help. The establishment of such a facility will not only help to get relief supplies to Belize but also to other countries in the region affected by a natural disaster.
The idea to start working on this project has to do with the fact that Belize is part of the International Civil Aviation Organization. There has been a request by this organization for an air cargo facility in Central America. Belize has been identified as a suitable location; thus, getting this project started as soon as possible is essential.
Perez said that the first step would be to start working on a concept and attract financing either via private investors or from other regional governments. This plan will be presented to Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño a month from now for evaluation. Details of the next step will be made available, and consultations will also occur.
The Sun will continue following this story as it develops.

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