Thursday, July 18, 2024
Etihad Cargo enhances US cool chain capabilities with WFS partnership

Etihad Cargo enhances US cool chain capabilities with WFS partnership

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has enhanced its cool chain capabilities in the US through the expansion of the carrier’s network with Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), a member of the SATS Group. Etihad Cargo’s customers will benefit from consistent end-to-end cargo services via the carrier’s PharmaLife and FreshForward products in addition to the cargo handling facilities and services offered by WFS at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Etihad Cargo recently expanded its network with WFS to incorporate all the carrier’s US stations. Before adding Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the carrier partnered with WFS in New York and Washington to ensure Etihad Cargo’s robust quality standards are maintained throughout the cargo’s entire journey. In both New York and Washington, WFS operates specialised facilities for the handling of perishables and pharmaceutical commodities.

At JFK, two cool rooms provide storage for perishables and pharmaceuticals requiring temperatures of between +2 to +8 and +15 to +25 degrees Celsius. The JFK facility also features a ramp area located immediately behind the building and organised ULD storage area with a new racking system, making the handling of cargo more seamless.

The WFS Washington facilities include a 60,000-square-foot warehouse and perishables, pharmaceuticals and live animals capabilities. In recent months, Etihad Cargo has increased volumes of its premium product range transported into and out of Washington.

Thomas Schürmann, Head of Cargo Operations & Delivery at Etihad Cargo, said: “Etihad Cargo and WFS have been partners for a number of years in the US, Europe and Asia, and the cargo handling services WFS provides align fully with Etihad Cargo’s commitment to providing world-leading, compliant cargo solutions at every stage of a cargo’s journey. Adherence to Etihad Cargo’s robust quality standards and the capacity to handle increased cargo volumes while ensuring consistent service levels contributed to Etihad Cargo’s decision to appoint WFS as the carrier’s cargo handling partner at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. WFS currently handles approximately 110,000 tonnes of cargo on behalf of Etihad Cargo in the US annually, and this is anticipated to increase with the addition of Chicago to Etihad Cargo’s network with WFS and higher volumes of the carrier’s PharmaLife and FreshForward products being transported across Etihad Cargo’s global network.”

As the latest station to be added to Etihad Cargo’s network with WFS, the cargo handler’s facilities at Chicago O’Hare International Airport include a new state-of-the-art on-airport facility and off airport location. The new facility features a fully temperature-controlled warehouse with a Controlled Room Temperature (CRT) environment that maintains a constant temperature of between +15 to +25 degrees Celsius in addition to a dedicated 3000-square-metre +2 to +8 degrees Celsius cool room, which holds 120 skid and 10 ULD positions. The facility offers 37 active container charging stations and export, import, dangerous goods and cooler staging areas.

“WFS, in keeping with SATS’ emphasis on providing added value for our airline and freight forwarder customers, is investing in the development of cool chain solutions to become a key industry partner for pharma and perishable shipments. We are proud to provide this premium solution for Etihad Cargo, and value the confidence they have placed in us by expanding our partnership in Chicago. Thanks to the unique global network we now have as part of the SATS Group, WFS can leverage the capabilities and expertise of our North American pharma facilities with those of our other pharma centres around the world,” said Jose Canales, Senior Vice President, Commercial & Business Development, Americas, at WFS.

Etihad Cargo has demonstrated its commitment to quality, becoming the first Middle Eastern airline to achieve IATA CEIV Pharma, Fresh and Live Animals certifications. The airline has gone on to enhance its eight-strong premium product offering with the introduction of new features, including specialised thermal covers, the development of over 1,330 IATA CEIV / GDP pharma trade lanes and the adoption of digital tools to support the emirate of Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a global air cargo hub, with a strong focus on pharmaceuticals and life sciences products.

Schürmann concluded: “Etihad Cargo is committed to being the air cargo partner of choice, and quality is a core pillar of achieving this vision. Working with partners, such as WFS, who share and adhere to Etihad Cargo’s robust quality standards and industry best practices will enable the carrier to further improve the customer experience and ensure partners receive consistently high-quality air cargo solutions across Etihad Cargo’s global network.”

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on


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