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How Memphis airport upgrades announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will help shoppers

New de-icing operation for FedEx and other cargo companies are expected to get goods shipped to and from Memphis quicker, just in time for the holiday season.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg touched down in Memphis Tuesday, to tout the completion of a new, massive de-icing operation at Memphis International Airport, home to the world's largest air cargo hub, led by FedEx.

Even though the area doesn't get a lot of winter weather, just a tiny amount of moisture can slow down takeoffs and shipping. That's why it's so important that the investment is up and running to get goods moved more quickly and efficiently to and from Memphis, just in time for the holidays.

That's welcome news to small businesses in the Mid-South, including TNC Sports in Bartlett.

"As far as the shipping, it's gotten a lot better," TNC Sports Manager Kevin Green said. "We still have some issues with some of the companies that we were dealing with trying to get supplies in, but overall it's better."

TNC Sports relies heavily on getting its team gear from FedEx and its Memphis Hub.

"We are here to stay. I know they are here to stay," Green added.

Now, the FedEx Hub can get goods to and from Memphis quicker, thanks to the completion of a massive de-icing operation.

"These are the types of investments that keep our supply chains moving," Sec. Buttigieg told ABC24 Tuesday.

Secretary Buttigieg came to the Bluff City to greet FedEx workers and tout how the airport improvements locally strengthen America's overall supply chain long-term.

"I know most people when you are seeing a present under the tree, you are not thinking, 'Oh, I wonder how they de-iced the plane that took this present to where it was going before it comes to my doorstep.' But the thing about supplies chains is, it's all connected, from ship to shore to shelf," Sec. Buttigieg added.

The new de-icing stations in Memphis can de-ice 12 massive FedEx cargo planes at one time.

New LED message boards and 73 new acres of airfield space will also allow FedEx pilots to take off sooner.

"It helps things get to where they need to be on time, and it ultimately makes the shipping more affordable too by cutting down on delays and keeping the overall cost of shipping down," Sec. Buttigieg said.

It's those projected savings that are expected to pay off for small businesses, including TNC Sports.

"Anytime you have more money to spend, you can get more product in here - it will increase our sales on the back end. Any time we can get a price reduction on shipping it's a good thing," Green said.

The Memphis airport improvements cost more than $300 million, with the federal government chipping in around $174 million.

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