Emirates SkyCargo looks forward to a more positive year

By Rachelle Harry

Following the challenges that 2019 presented to the industry, Emirates SkyCargo is hoping for a more positive year ahead, boosted by its “innovative product development and investment in ‘fit for purpose’ infrastructure”.

Nabil Sultan, divisional senior vice president of cargo, at Emirates Skycargo, explained: “The global air cargo industry witnessed a very challenging year in 2019. Economic uncertainty, tensions in global trade and unrest in key markets negatively impacted cargo volumes.

“However, the tough market conditions were an opportunity for us to review our core offering to our customers and ensure that we remained market leaders with our specialised product offering, superior capabilities and infrastructure as well as our agility in responding to customer demand”.

Looking forward, he added: “The outlook for 2020 is more positive with the air cargo industry set to post a modest recovery thanks to improved economic activity and trade growth.

“With our commitment to ‘deliver as promised’ backed by a global network covering over 155 destinations centred in Dubai, our modern fleet of all wide-body aircraft and our state of the art Emirates SkyCentral terminals, Emirates SkyCargo is well positioned to support trade and economic growth in line with the Dubai Silk Road Project.

“With Expo 2020 Dubai also set to kick off in October 2020, we will see a surge in movement of goods to and from Dubai and we are working with our partners to provide specialised air freight services for this once in a lifetime event”.

2019: Emirates’ product review

Last year, Emirates SkyCargo’s specialised products helped it to maintain its “delivery as promised” commitment and they will continue strengthening its performance this year. 

Emirates Delivers was an e-commerce platform launched last year to help consumers and small businesses to purchase products from online retail stores in the US and have them delivered in the UAE.

The product is part of the airline’s broader strategy to promote Dubai as an e-commerce fulfilment hub for customers based in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. This year, the availability of Emirates Delivers will be expanded to more markets.

More than 400,000 tonnes of perishables were flown on Emirates flights with Emirates Fresh, the carrier’s specialised service for transporting perishable cargo. 

Emirates SkyCargo transported almost 11,000 high-priority shipments across six continents with Emirates AOG  last year. Meanwhile, the carrier experienced a 6% increase in volume for the shipment of valuable cargo with its Emirates Valuable service. Emirates Pets also saw an increase in demand last year – by 12%.

On the charter front, the carrier operated almost 370 flights. The airline’s charter operations have helped to transport cargo including relief materials for natural disasters, equipment for music concerts, flowers and other perishables (for example, in November and December last year, the carrier operated nine charter flights from Santiago in Chile to ship cherries).

Emirates’ pharma handling capabilities were boosted when it increased its number of pharma stations from 12 to 25 and implemented its pharma corridors programme. As part of this strategy, the carrier opened a new pharma hub in Chicago airport and also moved its pharma handling operations at Copenhagen airport to a dedicated GDP-certified facility.

Smooth operator

Last year, at Emirates SkyCargo’s SkyCentral terminals in Dubai, the carrier handled an average four pieces of cargo every second.

“There were more than 700 staff on duty at any point in the day and they helped 360,000 packages to be handled each day,” the airline said.

“The SkyCentral operations enabled Emirates’ fleet of over 270 aircraft to move approximately 7,000 tonnes of cargo every day – the equivalent of more than 60 full Boeing 777 freighters – between Dubai and the rest of the world.”

Emirates SkyCargo has also established a 24/7 cargo operations control centre (COCC), which monitors the status of shipments from acceptance to delivery. In 2019, the carrier monitored over 1.5m shipments using Cargo iQ guidelines to ensure that packages were transported and delivered on time.


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