A cold storage facility.Washington is a popular place these days. Not only when it comes to people traveling in and out, but Washington products looking to hop aboard an outbound flight.

Sea-Tac International has been the traditional arrival and departure point for the state’s export crops for decades, from cherries and apples to wine. But with record passenger growth straining airport operations there, the question begs, “Where do we put all the cargo?”

Columbia Pacific Aviation (CPA) at Grant County International in Moses Lake has come up with at least one option on their own. They spent a reported $2 million to outfit a new cold storage warehouse facility at the airport and purchase the necessary handling equipment, offering cargo operators 15,000 square feet of cold storage. That’s enough to fill a jumbo jet and then some with fresh produce and premium wines. The cherry harvest was the first crop to benefit from the new facility.

CPA President Jeff Akridge told the Puget Sound Business Journal that his business helps big growers get their fruit to markets faster while easing air traffic congestion at Sea-Tac. “Big growers are driving it. They’re seeing problems when their fruit gets to Seattle sometimes. It makes a lot of sense.”

With a 13,500-foot runway and plenty of build-ready land, the Grant County airport is a rapidly growing alternative for all-cargo operations. This is especially true for agricultural products, as the airport is centrally located to Eastern Washington farms and food manufacturers as well as major interstates and highways. The airport also offers cargo carriers lower operational costs.

For more information, visit Columbia Pacific Aviation’s website.