San Bernardino set to construct massive cargo logistics center

San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) will soon begin construction of a massive new “Eastgate Air Cargo Logistics Center” in partnership with Hillwood Enterprises LP.

The Eastgate air cargo terminal will be developed on a 101-acre site within SBD airport property, between SBD’s taxiway “E” and San Bernardino city’s 3rd St. The terminal building will include a 658,000 square-foot distribution center, a 25,000 square-foot maintenance facility and a parking apron with space for 16 aircraft.

Source: Proposed San Bernardino International Airport Eastgate building environmental site assessment, July 2018

The total cost of the project will be US$200 million, according to the San Bernardino Sun, but details regarding phases of construction and operation have yet to be confirmed. However, an initial report on the environmental impact of the project lists a targeted in-service date of October 2019 on an accelerated construction schedule, and November or December of 2020 as an alternative timeline for construction. The airport has also not yet responded to request for details about whether the center will include automated technology or specialized facilities.

Over the last year, the Inland Empire airport cluster – comprised of San Bernardino (SBD), Ontario International (ONT) and Riverside March Air Reserve Base (RIV) – has seen increased amounts of air cargo activity due to the region’s ample access to multi-modal transport and physical room for growth. E-commerce giant Amazon announced plans last year to establish RIV as its regional air gateway, while ONT, which already hosts operations from Amazon, UPS and FedEx, is currently pursuing opportunities with Chinese integrator SF Express.

While SBD has also seen an increase in flights and welcomed leases from UPS and FedEx, the airport’s move to construct its Eastgate cargo center demonstrates that it is set to differentiate itself from its competition by building facilities, while also preparing for future growth.

Cultural, environmental and traffic impact studies on the proposed facility were completed last July, followed by a public hearing and unanimous approval of the project by the San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA) in October.

Under its partnership and associated 35-year ground lease with SBD, Hillwood Enterprises will manage leasing the logistics center to tenants and operators. Hillwood has yet to announce any new tenants for the facility, but reports from local media suggest that Amazon could sign on, given that it has an established fulfillment center at SBD. Signing on as a tenant for the new facility would continue the company’s aggressive fleet and hub expansion of the past year, as reported in our sister publication, Cargo Facts.

The Eastgate project now awaits final approval by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) within the next 90 days, at which time construction of the center will begin.