Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Etihad Cargo’s new airfreight chief eyes opportunity

Etihad Cargo’s new airfreight chief eyes opportunity

The UAE is a natural gateway between Europe, Asia, Africa and the US. Building on Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s strategic location and state-of-the-art infrastructure, this region continues to evolve to further cement its position as an international hub not just for air cargo, but also for passengers and logistics, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, e-commerce and business.

In terms of top freighter markets for Abu Dhabi and Etihad Cargo, China and Vietnam present great opportunities for growth, while India is the number one passenger market. South Korea, multiple destinations across Europe and Etihad Cargo’s new Abu Dhabi-Boston also have high potential for passenger growth.

“We see huge potential for the Middle East, and Abu Dhabi specifically, to become the world’s airfreight hub, and carriers that are agile, competitive and proactive in addressing the capacity needs of customers will be well-placed to seize these opportunities,” Stanislas Brun, Etihad Cargo’s newly appointed Vice President Cargo, told Air Cargo Week.

“At Etihad Cargo, we are not primarily focused on quantity alone but also prioritise quality. We continuously enhance our product offering, drive operational efficiencies and add depth to our network through partnerships and innovation.

“This is a point of differentiation for Etihad Cargo, so we do not see an increase in competition as a risk of saturation, but rather as an opportunity to offer superior levels of service and quality to our partners and customers.”

In addition, with its perfect location offering a bridge between the East and West, the Middle East is investing in its infrastructure and making it easier to do business in the region.

“Abu Dhabi offers tremendous support to organisations located in or doing business with the emirate. Abu Dhabi Airport offers a fantastic opportunity for large companies across a diverse range of sectors, including pharmaceutical and healthcare, to build facilities in close proximity to the airport,” Brun continued.

“In recent years, Abu Dhabi has cemented its position as a global hub for business, offering world-class infrastructure with easy access to regional and international markets. The emirate facilitates investment in facilities linked to the capital’s airport, offering companies a strategic location to enhance or expand their operations.”

Life sciences hub

Pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and perishables, are set to continue to be key sectors for Etihad Cargo. In 2023, the carrier achieved double-digit growth for its PharmaLife and FreshForward products for the third consecutive year, and they are looking to continue this trend in the year ahead.

“To expand our pharma storage capabilities, Etihad Cargo launched a state-of-the-art cool chain facility at Zayed International Airport that has doubled our cool chain capacity to carry and accommodate an additional 50,000 tonnes of cool chain commodities, including pharmaceuticals and life sciences products,” Brun outlined.

“The pharma hub supports the growing global healthcare and life sciences demand. We are also working more closely than ever with partners to manage pharma logistics more efficiently to create a more robust pharma ecosystem.

“In Abu Dhabi, for example, Etihad Cargo is working closely with the Department of Health, customs, the police, ground handling partners and freight forwarders to launch initiatives such as the Pharma Corridor 2.0 – a fully compliant origin-to-destination pharma air corridor – and dedicated long-term storage areas, such as the Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi.”

Turning East

e-commerce and electronics are also booming for the airfreight industry and Abu Dhabi. Etihad Cargo has adapted to meet the current market trend of its partners and customers requiring dedicated charters for the transportation of express and e-commerce goods.

“Etihad Cargo has recently launched its new product SecureTech dedicated for the transportation of electronics,” Brun highlighted.

“Etihad Cargo’s dedicated freighters, combined with our express and e-commerce capabilities, our efficiency in handling this type of cargo and Abu Dhabi’s strategic geographical location make Zayed International Airport an ideal hub location for the transit of these charters.

“We have established partnerships that have contributed to the UAE’s evolution as a cargo hub, including Etihad Cargo’s partnership with China’s SF Airlines, which will enable both carriers to achieve mutual growth and support the vision of Abu Dhabi and Ezhou in the Hubei Province to become major global logistics and express hubs.”

Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.

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