Building on a strong record of cargo operations across the agency, the New York and New Jersey Port Authority has taken a major new initiative to expand its facilities at Newark Liberty International Airport to meet the growing demand for additional cargo space and services react.

The agency has issued a Call for Proposals (RFP) to pre-qualified companies to rent, operate and maintain two of the airport’s key cargo buildings through renovations that will greatly improve Newark Liberty’s air cargo operations. The airport is already a major international shipping hub for leading airlines such as FedEx and UPS. The move is part of the Port Authority’s wider drive to transform its business operations to survive in a dynamic, growing air freight market.

Nationally, the airfreight business has recovered from the effects of COVID-19 and continues to grow after an initial decline in early 2020. The volumes reached a record level in January 2021 and were thus 1.1 percent above the record levels of January 2019 International Air Transport Association. At Newark Liberty, December 2020 volume showed a recovery of all cargo business that was originally lost during the pandemic. In comparison, the commercial passenger volume at all airports of the port authority is still well below the level before the pandemic.

“With the presence of robust sales channels in the region, the Port Authority’s strategic goal is to position its air cargo facilities in Newark Liberty to meet growing demand,” said Kevin O’Toole, Chairman of the Port Authority. “COVID-19 has changed the way products are moved from one market to another, and our airports are great for supporting freight companies.”

“These new cargo projects provide Newark Liberty with an exciting opportunity to expand cargo capacity and adapt the delivery of world-class warehousing and services to shape the future of airport air cargo services,” said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority. “This newly expanded capacity will increase economic activity and create more jobs to fuel the region’s economic recovery.”

The local air freight market remains an important link in the global supply chain and a key driver of economic growth between New York and New Jersey. Cargo supports 22,000 jobs, sales of $ 4 billion, and total wages of $ 1.5 billion across the Newark area. As customers and vendors increasingly turn to online retail and merchandise points of sale, Newark has become the regional hub for small packages.

In addition, nearly 40 percent of the cargo currently being handled in Newark Liberty is carried on both domestic and international passenger flights. These modernized facilities, along with other existing multi-tenant freight facilities, offer an additional choice of facilities and freight connectivity to passenger terminals.

Newark Liberty is in the middle of an airport-wide redevelopment where the airport’s cargo business is an integral part. A new Terminal A is being completed at the southern end of the airport. The Port Authority is moving closer to replacing the obsolete Newark AirTrain with the release of an RFP for four pre-selected design and engineering teams last week.