Saturday, May 18, 2024
Resilience in the face of regional instability

Resilience in the face of regional instability

After Niger’s military leaders seized control in August 2023, the country’s airspace was closed. The move came “in view of the threat of intervention from neighbouring countries” after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) threatened military action to restore Mohamed Bazoum to power. Months on from the coup d’etat, Niger has reopened its airspace, as ECOWAS continues to impose sanctions and economic pressure on the country.

Despite the challenging circumstances, Niger Air Cargo (NAC), a subsidiary of ECS Group, expects to see the region rebound steadily throughout the next 12 months. Although acknowledging shifts in cargo demand and trade patterns during the disruption in the country, NAC has reaffirmed its commitment to the region.

“NAC remains steadfast in providing a freighter solution not only to Niamey but to the entire region, contributing to the economic recovery and development of the area,” Adrien Thominet, ECS Group’s CEO, said.

“As we anticipate the return of volumes in the year ahead, our assessment aligns with an outlook similar to that of 2023. While challenges and uncertainties persist in the global landscape, we are optimistic about the resurgence of cargo volumes in the region. 

“Niger Air Cargo is well prepared to navigate the evolving dynamics, leveraging our experience, infrastructure, and commitment to providing top-notch cargo services. We foresee continued growth and resilience in the air cargo sector, and NAC is poised to play a leading role in contributing to the region’s economic development through reliable and efficient freight solutions,” he explained. 

READ: Niger Air Cargo resumes weekly B747 service

Cargo connections

Niger Air Cargo’s unique positioning is demonstrated by having a local Air Operator Certificate (AOC), granting it traffic rights to all surrounding countries. 

“The local AOC serves as a gateway, facilitating increased access not only to Niger but also to neighboring regions. This capability positions NAC as a reliable and comprehensive cargo solution provider for the broader geographical area,” Thominet highlighted.

The B747 service from Europe to Niger will see Niger Air Cargo transporting a diverse range of key cargo types; including the transportation of energy and drill equipment, facilitating crucial operations in the region. Additionally, the carrier will handle consolidations, catering to the varied needs of clients. 

More than 4.3 million people, or 16% of the country’s population, require humanitarian assistance in Niger, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) stated towards the end of 2023. The UN has previously warned that regional sanctions and the border closure had a significant impact on the country’s supply of vital food and medical supplies.

As such, human relief efforts and medical supplies are prominent among the cargo types NAC transport. “This underlines our commitment to supporting essential services and humanitarian initiatives in Niger and beyond,” Thominet added. 

READ: Going all-in on the GSSA sector

Adapting amid volatility 

Naturally, given the ongoing geopolitical situation in Niger and other African nations, logistics companies have to be braced for change, sometimes at incredibly short notice. Domestic and international policy changes can reverberate throughout the supply chain, requiring logistic providers to adapt their operations to ensure minimum disruption to supply chains.

“Our ability to keep offering operations in Niger amid challenging circumstances reflects the resilience and adaptability ingrained in Niger Air Cargo’s approach. The flexibility in our operations is attributed to the dedicated teams within our ops and charter divisions,” Thominet highlighted.

To achieve that resilience NAC has built a strong presence on the ground, recognising that it is an irreplaceable asset if you wish to have a deep understanding of the environment and key connections to regional authorities.

“This local presence enhances our agility in managing operations efficiently, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of cargo and the smooth functioning of supply chains, even in tricky environments,” Thominet added.

“While the origins of the flow may have undergone some changes, our operations remain stable, and we are adeptly managing any adjustments required. There are no significant operational issues to hinder our flights, showcasing the resilience and adaptability of our operations,” he continued. “With a poised and responsive approach, we are well prepared to navigate the dynamics of the return and ensure the continued success of the route.”

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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