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Emirates starts operating freighters at Dubai World Central

By Staff Reports on May 1, 2014

After months of construction, planning and testing, Emirates SkyCargo’s freighter fleet officially started operating Thursday from its new cargo terminal at Dubai World Central’s (DWC) Al Maktoum International Airport. 

The official start of operations was marked by the morning arrival of an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777 freighter from London Heathrow, carrying a full load of more than 100 tonnes of cargo. The load of cargo included vehicles, ship spares, pharmaceuticals, oilfield equipment and an aircraft engine, some of which are for distribution in the United Arab Emirates, while other cargo will be carried onward by Emirates passenger aircraft at Dubai International Airport to various markets around Emirates’ network.

“The start of operations at DWC today is a major milestone for Emirates SkyCargo,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior vice president, cargo. “Our various teams, along with many of our partners and stakeholders, have been working very hard over the past few months to complete phase one of the project. We have also held numerous trials to test the readiness of every aspect of the facility and the movement of cargo between the DWC and Dubai International to ensure a smooth transition and enable us to meet our customers’ expectations.”

Construction of phase one of the cargo terminal and supporting facilities began in July 2013, and with its completion, operations are now in full swing with 250 staff on site. The newly opened terminal will be able to handle 700,000 tonnes of cargo annually and have 500 staff when phase two, scheduled to be completed by September, comes into operation.

The terminal has the potential for further expansion to reach 1 million tonnes.  

“We are very pleased that we have met our timelines and the move has gone according to plan,” Sultan said. “This new facility gives us the additional space and capacity required to manage the growth of our cargo business and have a dedicated, modern and efficient hub for our freighter operations, which contribute 35 percent of Emirates SkyCargo’s total revenue.”

Emirates SkyCargo has a fleet of 12 freighters. Cargo arriving on freighters will be transported by dedicated trucking services between DWC and Dubai International Airport along the Emirates Road, which will be the main corridor for connecting cargo between freighters and the passenger fleet. The trucking fleet numbers 47, which will be increased relative to future growth requirements. 

The new terminal features a fully automated material handling system, which has an automated quick dolly transfer system that enables quick transfer of six ULDs simultaneously. 

In addition, an automated pallet handling system, storage system, offices, workstation areas, modern communication and security systems and amenities for employees have been installed. The perishable area has been designed to handle about 140,000 tonnes of cargo per annum, featuring three large areas each with different temperature ranges.

The terminal also includes 45 truck docks and 80 truck parking spaces, in addition to 12 aircraft stands in front of the terminal.