Transglobal Cargo Centre open for business

With the rapid growth of Kenya’s horticultural and perishable exports, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s (JKIA) cargo handling capacity was about to be strained at the seams. But with the recent opening of the US$29 million Transglobal Cargo Centre, not only has the capacity pressure been eased, but the airport’s hub status has been given a […]


With the rapid growth of Kenya’s horticultural and perishable exports, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s (JKIA) cargo handling capacity was about to be strained at the seams. But with the recent opening of the US$29 million Transglobal Cargo Centre, not only has the capacity pressure been eased, but the airport’s hub status has been given a significant boost. As one of five cargo facilities at the airport – the others being the Kenya Airfreight Handling Ltd; Nairobi Cargo Centre; Cargo Service Centre; Signon Freight; and the Animal Holding Station – the Transglobal facility represents the most modern facility at the airport and indeed, in much of Africa as a whole. Located on JKIA’s newly-extended freight apron, with direct air side access, the new cargo terminal incorporates full on-site pallet-building facilities for perishables enabling loose perishable cargo to be delivered direct to the terminal for containerisation or palletisation, where until now, this work is was performed by agents and shippers off airport. With a shift from Transglobal’s old facility off-airport to be completed in March, the first two tenants, Emirates SkyCargo and Astral Aviation, will occupy about one quarter of its capacity, according to Transglobal Cargo Centre chief operations manager, Freddie Karua. Emirates SkyCargo launched services to Nairobi in 1995 and today operates two B747 freighters and 14 wide-bodied passenger flights per week via the Kenyan capital. Karua said the 18,000 sq metre facility includes a 12,000 sq metre warehouse of which 4,600 sq metres is for cool chain and the rest for general cargo. “We are talking to a number of carriers and in maybe three months we will reach 60 per cent occupancy,” he said. Total throughput at airport last year was 290,000 tonnes of which the Transglobal facility can handle 250,000 tonnes annually. “This will provide a big part of the airport’s growth,” Karua added. And the facility will go a long way in meeting international security requirements for air cargo as well. Because of the historical development of the airport, facilities run by exporters and foreign cargo handling agents and known as “build up units” sprang up outside the cargo handling terminal. Cargo would pass directly from these facilities to the aircraft, bypassing the transit shed, according to Karua .This not only deprived the airport authority from collecting its concessionary revenue, but increasingly posed a security risk, one very unlikely to be tolerated much longer in this current environment.