Air cargo lifts off at Dube

Published Oct 28, 2019


Durban - There has been an exponential rise in air cargo volumes through the Dube TradePort Cargo Terminal.

Ricardo Isaac, manager for the terminal, said he believed the increase in volumes was a clear indication that the commercial case for airfreighting cargo from Durban was changing.

Five years ago a study of airfreight originating in KwaZulu-Natal but being trucked to Gauteng and flown out of OR Tambo International Airport showed that the Dube TradePort Cargo Terminal handled a mere 19% of this market. By 2016, the cargo terminal had captured 55% of this market, growing 25% year-on-year.

Ricardo Isaac, manager for Dube TradePort Cargo Terminal.

In the 2018/19 financial year, the terminal’s volumes increased by another 26% to some 16000 tons of import and export airfreight, and for 2019/20 volumes are projected to exceed 18000 tons, driven largely by the arrival of British Airways.

Isaac said this increased growth in volumes had been achieved despite the economy growing at around 1% and in a global context when airfreight was taking a pounding.

The rand’s current weakness was currently bolstering Durban exports.

He attributed a lot of this success to freight forwarders, who were playing a vital role, and to the success of Durban Direct in attracting international airlines to fly direct to King Shaka International Airport (KSIA).

The addition of British Airways, Qatar and Turkish Airlines to Emirates flying direct to KSIA has provided cargo-carrying capacity of over 650 tons a week, and access to 900 destinations.

“There’s a big change in the way companies are doing business. There are conscious decisions being made to use airfreight and fly it directly into and out of Durban. The shipping sector is one that’s chosen to fly ship spares, supplies and crew directly to Durban. They can pick up their cargo anytime, as the terminal operates a 24-hour service. And stringent security at the terminal allows us to reduce the risk of transhipment loss,” said Isaac.

The Dube Cargo Terminal and its AiRoad business is working with an airline and a national retailer that cuts out two days of road transit, and improves planning and security of product. Dube AiRoad transport empty units to the distribution centre; the retailer packs and seals the units, which are then transported to the cargo terminal, scanned and loaded on to an aircraft.

Service levels at the Dube Cargo Terminal top 97% as measured by all airlines. “We’ve achieved this by training and maintaining staff - 90% of staff has International Air Transport Association diplomas and other certificates - and with a 20 minute turnaround time,” said Isaac.

The Mercury

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