SkyBridge Arizona Heralds New Era In Cross-Border Commerce

The first international air cargo hub to house customs operations for Mexico and the U.S. is expected to create 17,000 jobs in Greater Phoenix.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2018 Issue

Arizona soon will be home to SkyBridge Arizona, the nation’s first international air cargo hub to house both Mexican and United States Customs operations. The first-of-its-kind service, which will be operated out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, will enable E-commerce companies, manufacturers and other commercial interests conducting business in Mexico and throughout Latin America to more efficiently and cost-effectively transport goods between countries, while ensuring proper inspections and safety controls.

ArizonaThe project is expected to create 17,000 direct and indirect jobs and increase cargo flights out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport by 2,000 a year, eventually reaching 10,000 by 2036.

“The arrival of SkyBridge Arizona once again proves that our state is a national leader in advancing innovative new ideas,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “Arizona has forged an incredible relationship with our friends and neighbors in Mexico, and we’re very proud of this latest collaboration to enhance international trade and create more jobs for Arizonans.”

Historic agreements signed with United States Customs and Border Protection, Mexico’s Administracion General de Aduanas and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport creates America’s first and only inland international air logistics and processing hub with Mexico.Arizona

“SkyBridge will truly change the way we conduct cross-border business, slashing delivery times for companies and ensuring safe transit, said SkyBridge CEO Ariel Picker. “This is true international cooperation and something we can all be proud of.”

The new services provided by SkyBridge Arizona at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will allow users to send products anywhere in Mexico without having to go through the cumbersome and inefficient international customs center in Mexico City.

“Consumers in Latin America want the ability to purchase goods online and receive them the next day—SkyBridge Arizona will make that a reality,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. “This project will transform Mesa into an international e-commerce hub, benefitting not only our city but also our state and the Arizona-Mexico region as a whole.”

The Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) Program—jointly operated by both U.S. and Mexico customs officers—seamlessly approves incoming and outgoing freight at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport bound for customers on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. The UCP pilot program began last year in Nogales, Arizona and has been approved for air freight to SkyBridge Arizona.

All required documents, inspections, tracking and other services will occur on-site at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The Customs Processing status will follow packages and cargo electronically to their final destinations to any city in Mexico, and eventually further into Central and South America. The UCP Program will be operational at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in the coming months.

“SkyBridge Arizona is a proven industry leader in global logistics and international cargo,” said Gilbert Mayor and PMGAA Board Chair Jenn Daniels. “We are confident that their success at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will serve as a major economic catalyst for the region.”

SkyBridge Arizona follows an air freight trend line that is soaring. Growth of air freight between Arizona and Mexico has grown 30 percent per year, or 180 percent from 2011 to 2015, outpacing all other modes of transport. Air freight trade between Arizona and Mexico currently totals $390 million per year and is expected to balloon to $650 million by 2025. The state also outpaces all of its Southwest neighbors of California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas, whose air freight traffic grew by just 10 percent during the same period.

Cross-border commerce between Arizona and Mexico also got a major boost with the inaugural Arizona-Sonora Business Expo, held March 14-15 in Hermosillo, Mexico. The Expo was designed to facilitate new connections, increase cross-border collaboration and strengthen an already prosperous relationship between two trading partners.

The Arizona-Sonora region features core strengths in high-growth industries, including aerospace, mining, construction, manufacturing, medical devices, renewable energy and tourism. The region offers an incredible strategic advantage for companies when it comes to trade, investment and economic development.

“Arizona’s relationship with Mexico—our number one trading partner—can serve as a model for other states to follow,” said Gov. Ducey. “The Arizona-Sonora region presents a competitive platform for growth, a robust supply chain, modern transportation infrastructure, top-ranked higher education institutions and a talented workforce.”

The Expo takes place in the Sonoran capital of Hermosillo. The robust agenda includes B2B meetings, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities. Attendees will meet face-to-face with key suppliers and stakeholders and attend industry-specific presentations. The goal of the Expo is to be a matchmaker, connecting businesses with mutual interests and needs, and to expand trade relationships in the region.

This Expo is presented by the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Secretaría de Economía de Sonora in partnership with Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Comisión Sonora-Arizona. It represents the continuation of an alliance between two governors in one region recognized as a national model for cross-border collaboration.


From its stunning topography to diverse workforce, Peoria Arizona is becoming an increasingly popular place to live, work and invest. Peoria is in a unique position. It is a growing city with a thriving business community, a high-quality workforce, premier sites for investors and developers, as well as opportunities for public-private partnerships. Peoria is developing its economy to compete for local, national and global business. Adopting an aggressive strategy has allowed the city to attract smart people and smart businesses to the area. Additionally, Peoria is a low-cost option for both business and workforce attraction when compared to Austin, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. With a supportive mayor and highly involved city council driving the economic development strategies, Peoria’s leaders are not only taking control of its future, they are creating it.

Peoria, AZ has an educated and skilled workforce that attracts technology and biomedical businesses to the area. Peoria residents are educated in occupations that exceed national norms, including engineering, computer technology, mathematics and finance. The city has a workforce skilled in healthcare professions, with 19 percent of the Peoria workforce having healthcare education. Peoria has an abundant, educated workforce within a 30-minute drive from most major employment centers in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The average professional is approximately 35 years old, with a college degree. A strong and talented workforce makes the relocation and/or expansion decision easier for investors and businesses that are ready to make a smart move.

Artist conceptual rendering of Stadium Point @ P83. (Image: Invest Peoria AZ)

Centrally located between six major regional hospitals, Peoria borders Midwestern University, the largest medical school in Arizona with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students. In addition, Peoria attracted Huntington University from Indiana, opening its Peoria campus with an eye focused on meeting the workforce needs of local businesses. Additionally, Peoria recently attracted global and high-tech manufacturers, AVIAGE SYSTEMS (China), Maxwell Technologies and GEPACK (Portugal).

The city has tremendous potential to assist manufacturing companies worldwide as well as advanced business services. Visit Peoria’s website to find out more about investment opportunities, targeted industries, demographics and guidelines for any investor, developer or end-user considering an expansion or relocation to Peoria. It also showcases many city-owned sites ready for development, including Stadium Point @ P83, a 17-acre site adjacent to the Peoria Sports Complex, home to the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres spring training and player development facilities. Located in the heart of the P83 Entertainment District. Peoria is working toward converting the parking lot west of the Peoria Sports Complex into a prominent business center with +-250,000 square feet of Class A office; 25,000 square feet of retail; and an onsite parking garage. This office complex will benefit a host of restaurants, dinner theatres and other entertainment uses in the P83 District. Another property featured at the investment forum is a 14-acre, city-owned property at the Loop 101/Peoria Avenue, referred to as the CoreWest Office Park.

Peoria’s Old Town District has been the heart and soul of the city since its foundation. The city has been focusing on a proactive revitalization effort to enhance the area to attract new business and people to the area. Peoria established the Commercial Revitalization Program as a way to assist eligible businesses who may need financial support to upgrade exterior facades, parking areas, pedestrian walkways, and other exterior improvements to their properties. If approved for assistance, the city may provide up to 50 percent reimbursement to eligible private property owners to facilitate these improvements in the designated Program area. For additional information on the program, please visit the Resources section of the Invest Peoria AZ website.

The Vistancia Commercial Core is located at the center of the 7,100-acre master-planned Vistancia community. More than 320 acres of privately-owned/commercially zoned land, which is fully entitled and shovel ready with build-to-suit options for businesses, is available for development. The location of the Vistancia Commercial Core along the Loop 303 freeway offers access to an abundant skilled labor force and the Vistancia community provides a wide variety of housing options, from starter homes to executive-level housing.

With a high quality of life, many development opportunities, and targeted workforce development initiatives, Peoria is a great place to live and work for families, professionals and business owners alike. Our economic development team is ready to help you make your move to one of Arizona’s premier cities.

If you are a site selection consultant, commercial broker, business owner or other key decision maker and would like information regarding Peoria’s development opportunities please visit


A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for EdgeCore Internet Real Estate’s Mesa Data Center Campus. The 180-thousand-square-foot building will help EdgeCore offer cloud-connected data center solutions to the world’s most demanding customers.

“We’re thrilled that EdgeCore has selected Mesa, Arizona as the site for its first North American data center campus,” Gov. Doug Ducey said.

Rendering of Denver-based EdgeCore Internet Real Estate LLC’s Mesa data center, planned to open in late 2018. (Image: Studio Rendering)

When it is eventually built out, the Mesa Data Center Campus will have seven buildings totaling more than 1.25 million square feet. EdgeCore’s Mesa Data Center Campus will be part of the City’s Elliot Road Technology Corridor. The data center campus will include an on-site substation to deliver the utility power needed to support 225 megawatts of critical load to meet customer needs.

EdgeCore is investing more than $150 million. Upon full build out, the total combined investment is estimated to exceed $2 billion for EdgeCore and its customers. The first EdgeCore campus building will open in late 2018.