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Air Cargo Analyst Stands By Criticism of St. Louis China Hub

michael webber.jpg
Michael Webber: Says St. Louis is paying to hear what it wants to about the China Hub.
Michael Webber, an air-cargo consultant based out of Kansas City, took a lot of heat yesterday from Daily RFT commenters when we re-published some of his thoughts on St. Louis' plans to transform Lambert Field into an international cargo hub for trade with China.

Late yesterday afternoon, we were able to speak to Webber by phone. During that conversation, Webber stood firm. He believes the St. Louis China Hub is destined for failure and won't produce anywhere near the promised jobs and economic activity area officials have promised. Here are a few of his thoughts shared yesterday with Daily RFT.

Why He Dissed The Plan:
"First off, I didn't say what I did about the St. Louis China Hub with any relish," says Webber. "I make my living in this industry (air cargo), and a lot of people have asked me my opinion on the project in St. Louis. The article published in Air Cargo News is my analysis of the situation that I've emailed out to some of my colleagues in the business. In short, I see the St. Louis China Hub as a potentially huge white elephant for taxpayers."

About His "Conflict of Interest":
"A lot of people have seized on the fact that I do consulting work for the city of Chicago and I'm from Kansas City (Kansas). In the article, I say that the airports in both those cities make more sense for a China hub than St. Louis. Does that make me biased? Well, I've also worked as a cargo consultant for the airport agencies in Miami-Dade, New York and Los Angeles, as well as Chicago. Those are the four biggest gateways to the U.S. for international cargo. So, if that experience discredits me from commenting on whether or not St. Louis makes sense as a cargo hub, well, then, I guess I'm unqualified."

On FedEx and UPS:
"A lot of commenters have attacked my argument because I mention how FedEx and UPS already have regional hubs near St. Louis. They say that doesn't matter, because those shippers won't be the backbone of the freight coming to St. Louis from China. OK. But I used that example because I think it's a pretty good indicator of what the cargo industry (and the world's two biggest shippers) think about St. Louis and its rank as the 39th biggest air-cargo hub in the U.S."

The Big Idea Myth:
"I think the most galling part of this whole project is that the people pushing for the China Hub are saying that St. Louis must act fast and the public needs to jump to support it -- to the tune of $360 million in taxpayer money. They're like used car salesmen. But do they really believe that no other airport agency in the United States has realized the need to open trade with China? Frankly, this idea is more than a decade old. And yet they persist. Has anyone seen an independent analysis of whether or not this plan will work? I haven't. The St. Louis folks are paying people to hear what they want to hear. And, well, someone needs to speak up."

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20 comments
Sheena14
Sheena14

The products distribution company offers the reports and suppliers to their clients. The products expenditure may change reliant on the area the place it needs to be sent. If the product which is to be sent needs refrigeration, then additional payment is energized by these companies.

Freight forwarding companies

IvoryMetal
IvoryMetal

There have been no Chinese officials addressing the ST Louis press on the China Hub. all we have are the proponents' say so. After the Chinese president came to Washington he went to Chicago signing an agreement to increase trade 20% through Chicago. During that visit the proponents announced possession of a "letter" indicating a strengthened commitment from the Chinese airline which turns out to be no more than a letter of interests.  The cited articles by Adam came from a contractor/developer news letter. This is significant because the architects of the plan are contractors and developers who stand to gain the most. But first, no international entities have shown interests in locating to St Louis to occupy 10% of the spaces proposed. Under that portion of the bill passed the developers’ guarantees include 100% of funds to purchase and clear land; and all construction costs, including infrastructure. Because the bill extends 50 miles surrounding the airport, any developer with land in that area can price and purchase that land under the bill. That is, Willie McGee Company sells his land to WMG Company who will participate in the tax credits -- both companies are owned by the same individual. The proposed bill contains no language guaranteeing what will be built will or shall have an occupant at any time. Finally the primary proponent of the HUB, Paul McKee and his companies are being sued by three different banks for failure to repay different loans in both federal and state court for much smaller developments in this area.  Good Luck!  IvoryMetal

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

St. louis has one HUGE advantage over chicago and kansas city. The Mississippi river.

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

so if china wants to put their hub in the great city of st.louis let them pay for EVERYTHING up front.

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

also, i suggest you google "slave labor in china" and read the fine details.  then tell me if you still think it is okay for u. s. labor to have to compete with slavery.

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

let china foot the bill. DO NOT SUBSIDIZE TYRANNY AND SLAVERY i have zero interest in reading the fine details of subsidizing any import deal with the tyrannical dictatorship of china. everything else is irrelevant because china uses child and adult slave labor to make the toxic junk they export to the u. s. and oppresses its' peoples' right to be free .  slavery was declared illegal in the u. s. and it is immoral to outsource it to china.  for the people of missouri to subsidize chinese slavery and government tyranny by not only importing chinese toxic junk but to pay china to build a dump off point is appalling. obviously our gov condones chinas' tyranny by trading with them and are imposing the same tyranny on us as we are losing more of our freedoms with every new false flag "patriot act"law in the global economy of the NWO.  however,even walmarts are banned in most of cali.  i'm disgusted that  people turn a blind eye to this evil. LET CHINA PAY TO BUILD A DUMP OFF HUB in st.louis if they want it. st. louis will not benefit because it still has a ways to go before it is dumbed down to the common denominators of tyranny and austerity as that of i. e. china and mexico. and afterall, when they send  lead toxic children's toys to st. louis it will not be returned but will be clogging the u. s. landfills and poisoning u. s. water aquifers.  

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

cole says "further we ca lament the downsides of "economic globalization" but such sentiments will not provide us with a time machine with which we could travel back to the 1970's.  on the other hand we can be proactive and exploit this unique opportunity to regain our status as a world class city". bullsh!t. when globalization began in the 1970's we were told it would be beneficial to the u. s. including st. louis. well, i ask you to compare the st,louis of the 70's to st.louis of today. clearly st. louis has been dumbed down to nearly 3rd world status.  providing china with a cheap dump off point and easy way to bypass u.s and st.louis manufacturers with their slave labor produced toxic goods will further erode the working conditions, wages, the city infrastructure etc  to the 3rd world status of the common denominator countries like mexico and china.  take a look at juarez:  no running water. no electricity, no sidewalks,  no paved streets, no sewers, etc., etc.. with "economic globalization"  the actual truth is that we must degrade our cities to nearly 3rd world quality of life in order to compete and not "regain our status as a world class city" as the promoters of communist china claim.

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

it is a mistake to assume that st.louis will "regain our status as a world-class city" by being the dump off point for communist china's cheap quality, slave labor produced toxic junk.  just because the world wide trend for governments is  to dumb labor down to slave wages worldwide and to oppress the peoples' right of free speech or freedom to assemble etc.  does not make it okay. when you make a deal with the devil you will end up getting screwed. the reason china has been successful with production is cause they use slave labor. if you think it is okay to do business with them you are just as guilty as they are. if i were in china i could be shot by the gov for coming on here and saying this. look at how walmart screws its' workers. the IMF is a criminal cartel.  chinas' gov is simply a gang of thugs.  your politicians want this dump hub cause they are being bribed. look at what happened in argentina.  we do not have to accept the NWO.  it is not beneficial to the people in any way what so ever.   look at greece, france, the u.s. etc etc..  the global banks intend to oppress the people like in communist china.  for you to say this is okay and that it is acceptable to do business with them is despicable. in a global economy it is the same as if we were to say it is okay for oh say arkansas to legalize slavery so the rest of the states can have cheap goods.  i go out of my way to avoid buying chinas' slave labor manufactured goods because i don't condone it and i don't want to be dumbed down to the common denominators of government tyranny and slave wages. 

Cole Goodrich
Cole Goodrich

I only suggested that he has a conflict of interest because he presented himself as a neutral expert, but he also represents O’Hare Airport, which currently handles 130 million of the 150 million pounds of air freight flown between the US and China each week.  His client would obviously take a major hit if the Chinese decided to establish operations at Lambert. Regarding the substance of his response, he still fails to acknowledge that FedEx and UPS have nothing to do with the aerotropolis initiative.   Who cares if these companies already have regional hubs near St. Louis?  China Eastern Airlines, not FedEx or UPS, wants to establish a hub at Lambert in order to advance the Chinese’s goal of transporting 50% of the air cargo shipped between the US and China.   The Chinese are intent on establishing a hub in the US, and Lambert is their first choice right now.  Far from undermining Lambert’s efforts, the American air cargo industry’s notable absence at the airport makes it more attractive to the Chinese.  As they want to run the show at a relatively large American airport, Lambert’s size and vacancies present a unique opportunity for both St. Louis and China Eastern Airlines.  Additionally, the high-speed rail would allow freight-forwarders to quickly ship time-sensitive products to Chicago, a city with airports that do not have the capacity to handle a significant increase in freight operations.He does, however, correctly point out that Lambert lacks necessary facilities and the presence of freight-forwarding companies.  This is precisely what the Aerotropolis Bill was designed to remedy.  The legislation would lure necessary parties to the table through tax incentives.  Importantly, companies would receive tax credits only to the extent that they contribute to the hub.  As such, no hub, no tax credits.  If, however, the state disburses these credits, the return on investment would greatly exceed the amount awarded.  Moreover, the state would only be refraining from collecting certain taxes on business activity that otherwise would not exist in the region.   Also, after 7 years, the state would fully collect on taxes associated with hub operations.  The Chinese want to use Lambert’s unused capacity, and freight-forwarding companies, presumably, want to establish a presence at the airport serving as the hub for China’s version of FedEx in the US.  However, neither side will move without assurances.  As such, the bill aims to provide incentives for both sides to meet in St. Louis, so to speak.  We have the opportunity to establish a direct connection with the country that the IMF thinks will emerge as the number one economy in the world by 2016.  Moreover, the initiative is not limited to China; South American airlines have expressed interest in using St. Louis as a hub through which they could trade with China.  Thus, this initiative provides us with the opportunity to revitalize the regional economy and enrich the city’s vibrant culture through international exchange.   Further, we can lament the downsides of economic globalization, but such sentiments will not provide us with a time machine with which we could travel back to the 1970’s.  On the other hand, we can be proactive and exploit this unique opportunity to regain our status as a world-class city.  As such, we are currently at a crossroads; we can either adapt to the realities of a competitive and increasingly global economic system, or we can sit on our hands and condemn ourselves to another century of irrelevance.

If you want to learn more about aerotropolis in St. Louis, Nextstl.com is a good place to start.  I’d bet that Frank Degraaf, a frequent contributor to the website, has a better understanding of the bill than anyone who was not involved in drafting the legislation.  Here are some relevant articles from the website:

http://nextstl.com/transportat...http://nextstl.com/transportat...the bill now includes $360 million in credits, not $480million: http://nextstl.com/transportat...http://nextstl.com/transportat...http://nextstl.com/transportat...

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

hello?........hello?..............  haha that's what i thought !!

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

can some one please tell me when and on what premise it became okay to outsource the manufacture of almost all our stuff to a evil commie dictatorship china that uses slave ,prison and 0.15 cent an hour labor? also, in the NWO global trade economy you must understand that labor worldwide must dumb down to the lowest common denominator wage of the poorest nations.  this is what the riots in greece are all about. and the same austerity  is coming to a neighborhood near you.

Adam
Adam

 no, sir. only ONE of the articles i cited came from a "contractor/developer newsletter". the other two came from the post dispatch and the brownsville herald (newspapers), respectively.

Adam
Adam

"i have zero interest in reading the fine details..."

why am i not surprised. though if you had bothered to read anything, you would have noticed that only exports are being subsidized. but by all means, keep spouting nonsense. it only hurts your own credibility.

Adam
Adam

daniel,

the hub will be exporting goods TO china (i.e. things produced here) as well as receiving things FROM china. that = agriculture and manufacturing jobs HERE. when you're finished waxing on about communism and new world orders, go read the details.

Cole Goodrich
Cole Goodrich

Sorry for the delayed response. I just have a life that gets in the way of constantly monitoring the RFT's website

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

exports?  that's funny. what in hell does st. louis  still produce that china could possibly want to import?   why do you think we owe them so much money already?  do not subsidize the NW[law and]Order.  what is "nonsense" about the fact that most of what used to be manufactured in st. louis is now made in china using slave labor? i enjoy going to china town. i like the people and their culture but if you want to buy/subsidize slave made goods from a evil dictatorship it makes you equally evil.  

Cole Goodrich
Cole Goodrich

Good point.It's important to note that the bill would only subsidize freight EXPORTED to China. Also, the Senate cut the bill from $480 million to $360 million by eliminating the provision that reduced the cost of interest on construction loans.  This $360 million figure represents the POTENTIAL amount awarded.  The following would have to occur if the full amount were disbursed:

1)   $1.5 billion of PRIVATE investment in warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing

2)   25,000,000 square feet of new warehouses

3)   15,000-25,000 new jobs in 7-15 years with a potential total payroll between 600 million-1 billion dollars per year

4)   3,500 outbound flights operated with incentives over the first 7-10 years. At a (US-Int’l) average of $ 37 per pound, the value of the goods exported would be about $5 million per flight. The subsidized flights alone would export $17 billion in US products (much of which which would be locally produced).

Again, the state would only be refraining from collecting taxes on certain aspects of business activity that otherwise would not exist. Mr. Degraaf provides more details here: http://nextstl.com/transportat...

Adam
Adam

"exports?  that's funny. what in hell does st. louis  still produce that china could possibly want to import?"

oh, i don't know... FOOD for starters (maybe you hadn't heard but there are lots of farms in the Midwest). also, off the top of my head, construction equipment. hey, can you please elaborate on how producing goods here, in Missouri, and EXPORTING them to China to be sold amounts to "compet[ing] with slavery"? no offense, but it sounds like your typing things without actually logic-checking them first.

and once again, the subsidies would go to businesses EXPORTING things that are MADE HERE to China. NOT to China for exporting things to us. how difficult is that to grasp?

"so if china wants to put their hub in the great city of st.louis let them pay for EVERYTHING up front."

thankfully it's not up to you.

"St. louis has one HUGE advantage over chicago and kansas city. The Mississippi river."

over KC, yes. over Chicago, not so much. in any case, that steam boat sailed about a hundred years ago.

okay, your turn again.

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