Mercury Air Cargo, Inc., a subsidiary
of Los Angeles-based Mercury Air Group, Inc., initiated cargo
operations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1979.
Today, Mercury Air Cargo plays an important role as the largest
third-party cargo handler at LAX and the second-largest air cargo
handler overall, based on 2007 tonnage, only surpassed by Federal
Express. Mercury operates out of three leaseholds at LAX, the
largest being a 200,000-square-foot facility on Avion Boulevard
in which Mercury Air Cargo invested in the building build of a
refrigeration unit that is considered the largest refrigeration
unit among all airports on the U.S. West Coast.
The 12,700-square-foot refrigeration
unit represents a $1.1 million investment by Mercury.
The facility is the largest
refrigeration unit among all airports on the U.S. West Coast.
Currently, the largest refrigeration
units at LAX are approximately 4,000 square feet.
The new refrigeration unit
was built to accommodate a projected 8,500 tons of new perishable
product annually arriving on LAN Cargo air freighters from
Currently, LAN Cargo reportedly
flies to LAX only 50% of the perishable traffic it could because
there is insufficient refrigeration at LAX to accommodate
the flowers and provide a continuing “cold chain”
to ensure their freshness.
The new flower volumes will
come from Bogotá, Colombia; and Quito, Ecuador; and
will now be coming to LAX instead of entering the U.S. at
Miami International Airport. This new shift in the flower
supply chain will save considerable time, making flowers available
to consumers on a faster, fresher and less-expensive basis.
To move 8,500 tons of flowers
from Miami to the West Coast takes approximately 423 53-foot-long
refrigerated trailer trucks. To move the same amount of flowers
to Los Angeles via air takes approximately 141 freighter flights.
Flowers traveling from Bogota
arrive in Portland, OR, in about one-third the time, when
shipped via LAX (28 hours total travel time from field to
florist) instead of via Miami (71 hours). This time savings
is critical, not only to shippers, but to customers seeking
the freshest flowers possible.
The time savings is equally
impressive when shipping flowers from Bogota to Carlsbad,
CA, a major floral distribution point for the West Coast.
The trip takes 15 hours of total travel time via LAX compared
with 59.5 hours via Miami – a time savings of 75 percent.
In the future, the large
refrigeration unit will not only accommodate the storage of
large amounts of flowers, but workers also will be able to
separate the flower shipments within the 35-degree-Fahrenheit
storage environment and prepare them for direct distribution
to flower shops and supermarkets throughout California and
the Western United States.
According to the Los Angeles
Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), Mercury’s
new warehouse operations at LAX will have a net positive economic
impact on California’s economy, generating approximately
$3.33 million in new direct and indirect business revenues
statewide. LAEDC is Southern California’s premier business
leadership organization whose mission is to attract, retain
and grow businesses and jobs in the regions of Los Angeles