Emirates SkyCargo inaugurates new terminal at DWC

Emirates SkyCargo offi cially opened the fi rst phase of its state-of-the-art cargo terminal at Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) on 10 November as it announced its ambition to move 12 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2050. Donald Urquhart reports from Dubai.


Located in the Logistics District in
Dubai South, the new terminal
dubbed Emirates SkyCentral,
is the home of SkyCargo’s fleet of 15
freighters and was necessitated by
the shift of SkyCargo’s maindeck fleet
out of increasingly congested Dubai
International Airport (DXB) in May of
last year to the new DWC airport.

Th e new facility, currently handling
810,000 tonnes of cargo annually has the
capacity – with added equipment – to
handle 1 million tonnes before Emirates
will need to build more infrastructure.
This facility, located near Jebel Ali
Port and Free Zone and nearly 7,000
manufacturers, consists of 85 per cent
transit cargo alongside 15 per cent import/
export cargo.

With an ambition of handling 12
million tonnes of cargo per year by 2050,
the carrier – already the world’s largest
cargo carrier, uplifting nearly 2.3 million
tonnes of cargo per annum – said it will
develop further capacity in stages.

Speaking to cargo media prior to the
official opening by chairman and chief
executive of Emirates Airline and Group,
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,
Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior VP, cargo said: “We will continue to
expand this facility, at the moment it can
handle roughly about 800,000 tonnes, in
the second phase we will be able to grow
this facility to a million tonnes and then
of course we are already working on a
second and third phase.”

Th e second and third phase will see
an additional expansion of this facility
and gradually the infrastructure will be
grown to cope with the entire airline
moving into DWC, he added.

“Th e critical part is we need to have
the whole infrastructure in place by 2025,
that’s going to be an important milestone,
to ensure that we have enough real estate
and processing capability in managing
the rest of our business, which is the
belly traffic comprising roughly 70 per
cent of our capacity, he added.

Milestone

“Th e opening of Emirates SkyCentral
is an important milestone for us, as it
represents our vision for future growth and
firmly establishes Emirates SkyCargo as the
world’s leading air cargo carrier across all
its operational areas,” Sultan said.

“Th is facility also features the best
and latest of what the air cargo industry
has to off er, and enables us to give our
customers a world class, effi cient and
seamless service no matter what their
requirements. It also further establishes
Dubai as a leading global air cargo hub,
which has the advantage of a strategic
location in the centre of trade between
East and West.”

The facility also features 72 cool
cells that are uniquely double stacked,
covering the entire temperature range
required for perishables and pharma
products. “Th e mix of these we can
never foresee, so with this setup we
have the possibility of mixing whatever
load we want and are doing what we
promised to our customer without
compromising,” Henrik Ambak senior
VP, cargo operations worldwide.

SkyCargo also utilises Cool Dollies
for transporting temperature sensitive
products from the cold chain facility
to the aircraft, something that is crucial
given summer temperatures that can
exceed 50 degrees Celsius.

Both the DWC and DXB facilities
are currently not cool chain certified at
the moment, with Ambak saying they
are currently looking at certification
and after consultation with customers
will undertake GDP certification soon.

He expects the DWC to be certified by
the beginning of next year with the first
trade lane up and running by the middle
of next year.


Virtual corridor

Each day SkyCargo moves nearly
1,000 tonnes of cargo – primarily
maindeck cargo fed from trunk routes,
from DWC to passenger bellies at DXB
– using a virtual corridor between the
two airports located 77km apart. “Th is
is not a small niche operation, it is core
part of what we do,” said Ambak.

Th is 24/7 operation is accomplished
using 47 trucks of which 12 are reefers to
facilitate perishables and pharmaceuticals
transport. The trucking portion is
managed by local trucking service
provider Allied Transport.

With a transit time of five hours, from
arrival of aircraft at DWC to aircraft
loading at DXB – Ambak says this crucial
link was studied indepth while planning
for the new facility. “Very few operators
have successfully operated a two airport
hub,” he said.

“We knew from beginning that we
needed to be successful in our transit
operations – it had to work, otherwise
the forwarders would walk away. So we
set a target of five hours and managing
this virtual corridor we can safely and
efficiently move bonded cargo between
two airports.”