MASCOUTAH — A delegation of five Chinese airport officials recently visited MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in the next step toward establishing a trade route for perishable goods.
According to MidAmerica Director Tim Cantwell, the delegates came from Ningbo Lishe International Airport and signed an agreement with MidAmerica officials last week assuring the enforcement of MidAmerica's trademark in the Chinese market.
"MidAmerica Fresh" is the trademark MidAmerica uses to show perishable goods are sent through a closed air cargo route with controlled temperatures to ensure fresh products.
County officials have been working to establish a trade route between China and Latin America through MidAmerica Airport.
Song Jiqing, chairman of the logistics administration committee of Ningbo airport, led the delegation. The group toured the newly expanded North Bay Production refrigerated warehouse at MidAmerica.
The Ningbo airport is constructing a refrigerated processing center similar to North Bay's at MidAmerica, according to Cantwell.
North Bay's expansion at MidAmerica will target the Asian and domestic market, according to North Bay's sales manager Nicholas Osmulski. The expansion added 18,000 square feet to the refrigerated warehouse and will allow the company to grow from its previous 32 employees to 80 people.
Song said in the statement it was a "great honor" to visit St. Clair County and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
"We are diligently working every day, building our steps on this trade route," Song said. "This visit was exceptional as it gave me and my delegation a greater understanding of our mission to be the partner in hosting perishable trade into China from the USA."
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said the partnership between the Ningbo municipality and Ningbo airport officials "has been an example of excellent second-tier airport cooperation to support their international aims."
County and airport officials are looking forward to having goods and services passing on the Ningbo-MidAmerica-Latin America trade route in both directions, Kern said.
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at email@example.com or 618-239-2501.