Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Though plans for a China cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport have fallen through, the St. Louis County Economic Council continues to tout the importance of securing international cargo routes in the Gateway City.
According to data from World Trade Center St. Louis and the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research, Missouri exports to China hit $1.2 billion in 2011. And a U.S. Conference of Mayors report indicates the St. Louis metro area will increase its export growth by 77 percent by 2020, placing the city in the top five fastest growing metro areas in the country.
The Midwest-China Hub Commission was formed in 2009 to research and develop cargo service routes to China and other international markets. Weekly cargo flights from Shanghai to St. Louis began in September 2011. However, the Aerotropolis Trade Incentive and Tax Credit Act failed to pass through the Missouri Legislature the following month. Shortly thereafter, China Cargo Airlines began canceling its scheduled cargo flights to Lambert Airport.
While a bump in the road, a spokesman for the cargo hub commission said an international cargo project will provide an economic shot in the arm for the St. Louis region and the state. Going forward, the group is pushing for freight forwarding as a vital part of the cargo hub designation.
In the meantime, the St. Clair County Board approved $550 million in bonds to support a new overseas cargo airline at its airport in Mascoutah.