First e-commerce shipment using joint U.S.-Mexico Customs completed at SkyBridge

The first e-commerce shipment processed through the combined United States-Mexico Customs unified cargo inspection at SkyBridge took flight out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport this week.

This is an opportunity to show, and work with, the new Customs Commissioner of Mexico how unified cargo processing works. Where both agencies – the Mexican Customs and American Customs – are in one location clearing cargo heading to Mexico,” said President of Intermestic Partners, Marco López.

SkyBridge’s first-of-its-kind joint U.S.-Mexico Customs inspection facility is expected to dramatically streamline the customs process between the two countries.

Customs agents at SkyBridge will put cargo through both the import and export process at the same time, allowing the product to fly directly to Mexico.

According to López, when people in Mexico order something from the U.S. online it will take more than two weeks to arrive at their door. “In the U.S. if you order something from Amazon and you don’t get it the next day, you’re annoyed,” López said. “[In] Mexico, it takes 15 days to do exactly that because there are so many processes. So, with this program we cut every process and it’s all done in one step here in Mesa”

“Every time you buy a product it has to be exported and imported,” SkyBridge Arizona CEO Ariel Picker said. “The U.S. authorities make an export [and] then the product is shipped to Mexico. It gets to a warehouse and goes through the process of importing. It’s the same process, they’re doing double.”

SkyBridge announced in 2018 that Arizona would be home to the cargo inspection facility due to the soaring air freight trend, which grew between Arizona and Mexico by 180 percent between 2011 and 2015.

The industry brings in a total of $390 million per year, outpacing other Southwestern states.

“There’s a potential for e-commerce,” Picker told CBN last year. “Taking this advantage of being able to preclear the product and ship it that day to any airport around the country without having to go through customs in Mexico is a great opportunity.”

On Feb. 6, members from the City of Mesa, SkyBridge, U.S. Customs, and Mexico Customs came together to watch the first e-commerce shipment using the new process.

The newly appointed Mexican Commissioner of Customs attended, giving the process his approval and said it will create a better relationship between the countries.

 “For us, it’s extinguishing any single act of corruption in customs. It makes the Customs of Mexico stronger,” said Mexico’s Commissioner of Customs, Ricardo Peralta Saucedo. “It’s not only about commercial trade, we’re exporting and importing culture and tightening our friendship bonds.  It’s historical.”

The process will make Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport the easiest point of departure when shipping products to Mexico, because nowhere else in the U.S. has it.

It’s a big asset and big tool for us that are focused on economic development, allowing us to have this mechanism for trade is huge because no one else has it,” López said.

Surrounding the facility are more than 3 million square feet of warehouse space, nearly 1 million square feet of office space, 900k square feet of light industrial flex space, and more than 800k square feet of air cargo operations.

“The infrastructure that Phoenix-Mesa Gateway has, no other airport in the Southwest has. Three great runways, a lot of land, a lot of space to grow. [It] doesn’t exist anywhere else. It was an underutilized asset that happens to be in a great location in the Southwest U.S.,” López said.

According to Picker, SkyBridge will result in more than 17,000 new direct and indirect jobs. 10,000 of which will be directly related to SkyBridge. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport expects an initial increase of 2,000 additional cargo flights per year, climbing to 10,000 by 2036.

It’s a big step,” Picker said.

Emily Richardson

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