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Birmingham Airport Authority Begins Construction on $27M Facility


By Barnett Wright

The Birmingham Times

A new $27 million Air Cargo Facility at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) is on the way.

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the vacation of 154,638 square feet of unopened right of way near the airport to pave the way for a new cargo facility. The vote came less than two weeks after a groundbreaking was at the site on May 24.

Construction is expected to take 10 months and be completed by Spring 2024.

In April, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) and Kuehne+Nagel, a global logistics company, welcomed the first cargo flight from Stuttgart, Germany to the Eastern U.S.

“This has been a long-term goal of the airport and to see it all coming together is a huge win for our community,” said Darlene Wilson, Chair, Birmingham Airport Authority. “We have the infrastructure in place. We have the best partners in the business. And we have the determination to continue building on what we established earlier this year.”

Airport officials say the flights are geared toward the automotive, aerospace and pharmaceutical industries. Mercedes-Benz, which manufactures automobiles and lithium-ion batteries in Alabama, is expected to benefit from improvements in supply chain efficiency.

The new cargo building now under construction will be 53,000 square feet with 48,500 feet of warehouse space, 17 bays in the loading docks, and five airside bay doors, four roll-up doors with two for airside loading and two for ground loading, office space with conference rooms, restrooms and breakrooms, a mezzanine area over office space.

With its central location, proximity to major highways, rail networks, an inland port, Birmingham serves as a key facilitator of trade and commerce throughout the state.

Birmingham City Councilor JT Moore, who spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony, said Birmingham’s expansion in global shipping and logistics “will not only provide a boost to our local businesses but also position us as a critical player in the global market. And despite recent reports about population growths in other Alabama cities, Birmingham remains the economic engine for the entire state and will remain so with the amazing work being done by our local partners and leadership on the Birmingham Airport Authority.”

“Our vision is to make Birmingham into a long-term gateway to and from the Southeastern corridor of the U.S. and we’re pleased to be able to provide customers with alternative options that support their supply chain needs,” said Greg Martin, senior vice president of air logistics at Switzerland-based K+N.

In April Kuehne+Nagel and Birmingham Airport Authority announced they are partnering to expand air cargo business in the Southeastern Corridor of the U.S. and began conducting two weekly flights with international cargo coming from Stuttgart to Birmingham.

The Birmingham Airport Authority’s deal with Kuehne+Nagel is part of a larger trend of freight forwarders increasingly directing international cargo away from congested U.S. hubs to secondary airports.

With over 80,000 employees at almost 1,300 locations in close to 100 countries, the Kuehne+Nagel Group is one of the world’s leading logistics companies.

As Alabama’s largest commercial airport, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has served as a gateway to the sky for more than 90 years. Governed by the Birmingham Airport Authority, the airport continues to be a catalyst for growth and economic development for the entire region.