Air cargo committee begins drawing up plans to utilize federal dispensation

By The Star Staff

The committee for the marketing, promotion, strategy and logistics of international cargo and passenger transfer in Puerto Rico met and agreed to do an inventory of assets, according to a Thursday press release.

The committee was constituted by Executive Order 2020-051 after the United States Department of Transportation granted an air cargo and passenger dispensation for Puerto Rico’s international airports, as announced by Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera.

“We are working as a team to conduct an inventory of the assets and infrastructure available at our international airports. This is to ensure that we have all the necessary resources for various economic sectors to integrate holistically and benefit from the competitive advantages offered by this dispensation,” Laboy Rivera said. “At a time when the Island seeks to attract more manufacturing companies, innovative companies, promote the tourism sector, as well as services and technology, among others, this exemption granted is an added value to these business models.”

As part of the process, the parties agreed to appoint subcommittees to individually address pharmaceutical and manufacturing issues, air cargo and infrastructure logistics, and promotion and marketing for business development, as well as another group to attend to public and legal matters.

Laboy Rivera said the work plan was also reviewed and approved. According to the executive order, the committee must present a report to Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on or before Sept. 30. It must include possible public policy strategies aimed at maximizing the benefits and performance of the exemption granted by the United States Department of Transportation.

“It is projected that, in the first two years that this waiver is in effect, air traffic will increase by at least 17 percent,” Laboy Rivera said. “In addition, it must have a multiplier effect on commerce in general, it will create at least 6,000 direct and indirect jobs and it must attract approximately 289,603 new passengers and the total economic impact will be $219.3 million.”

The committee is chaired by the DDEC secretary, who must coordinate all management related to the executive order with the Puerto Rico secretary of state. The island Transportation and Public Works secretary serves as vice president of the committee, and the Ports Authority executive director holds the position of secretary. Also serving on the committee are the executive directors of Invest Puerto Rico and Discover Puerto Rico, as well as a member of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce with knowledge on the subject, another from the Puerto Rico Industrial Association, and two experts in the area of logistics and international transportation from the private sector with experience in air traffic and cargo transport, who will be appointed by the governor.

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