The Dublin Airport Authority has signed a heads of agreement with the US international cargo group Lynx, which marks the start of a process to develop a global air freight hub at Shannon Airport.

The plan will see Lynx constructing a new temperature-controlled freight logistics facility at Shannon with infrastructural support from the DAA.

The facility is designed to bring in new freight opportunities to Shannon from transport and logistics companies both in Ireland and abroad.

In a statement this afternoon, the DAA said the new cargo hub will provide significantly improved facilities for Shannon's existing cargo businesses and will radically re-position the airport's cargo capabilities.

It will include chilled frozen and heated areas for cargo, which would enable Shannon to bid for more high value high volume freight business.

DAA Chief Executive Declan Collier said this agreement enables Lynx to move to the next stage of the project and begin detailed due diligence.

Shannon Airport Authority Chairman Brian O'Connell said the agreement would give Shannon an opportunity to exploit its central location between the major economies of the US, Europe and Asia and to develop as a significant cargo destination.

The agreement has also been welcomed by local TDs from Limerick and Clare, who say it will add significantly to the region's ability to attract new industries and business.