The new facility includes 159,684 square feet of refrigerated storage space -- which Aeroterm says is the largest airport cooler in North America. It's designed to handle a growing flow of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and fish imported from Latin America. To the east of the cooler is a giant general cargo facility; to its west side, 100,000 square feet of office space. Further west lies a newly refurbished 300,000-square-foot hangar.
Centurion, which historically has outsourced its aircraft maintenance, is transitioning to bring that work in house, a move that should generate between 300 and 600 new jobs over the next three years, Rey said. Though its fleet is comprised of older jets, Rey said it is the best suited for the job.
The new warehouse facility, which automates many functions that previously required manpower, is expected to boost Centurion's competitiveness in handling perishables along the "cold chain,'' where time and temperature control are crucial.
"It's a world-class airport facility," said Ian Morgan, who joined Centurion as president in February. "It raises the bar in Miami in what can be expected for handling perishables."
The new building opens on the south to a sprawling air ramp area, where cargo is moved to and from planes. On the north, or landside, of the warehouse are loading ramps for some 90 tractor-trailer trucks. Aeroterm said consolidating operations under one roof will save trucks an estimated 35,000 miles a year.
"Centurion was in many locations before. They incurred trucking costs to and from, and some facilities were off airport," said Gruver. "[The new center] saves on transportation and reduces pollution and congestion.''
Centurion's affiliate, Sky Lease Cargo, was created in 2008 when Rey acquired assets of Tradewinds Airlines, which was in bankruptcy proceedings. Sky Lease's management is based in Greensboro, N.C., but the carrier flies out of Miami.
Among other things, Sky Lease operates military charters to Europe and the Middle East, and provides contract services for freight forwarders and other cargo carriers, Rey said.
In 2009, Rey acquired Lynx Global, which focuses on logistics for perishable cargo. "Logistics is the next chapter for us," said Rey, who sees growth potential in services that help forwarders and shippers do their jobs better.
The following year, he added Arrow Air Cargo to his portfolio. His carriers are also entering new markets.
In 2011, Centurion launched service to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport as a first step in its expansion to Europe. Amsterdam is a big market for fresh flowers. Plans call for expanding service in Eastern Europe and Asia as its fleet adds more Boeing 747-400Fs.
Miami International Airport, the air freight gateway for Latin America and the Caribbean, imported and exported nearly one million tons of cargo during 2004.
The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority could lease the building to a company that would use it to handle cut flowers imported from South America.
D/FW Redirect New International Centre is the first step in an aggressive plan to expand import/export services BY John Boyce, contributing editor September 1999 DFW AIRPORT...