Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has concluded a minimum five-year exclusive contract to operate the new Dube Tradeport Cargo Terminal at the New International Airport at La Mercy in Durban, South Africa.
The new airport, located 30kms north of Durban City Centre is on schedule for its official opening in May 2010. It is three times larger than the city’s current airport and will accommodate 7.5 million passengers a year. A key feature of the airport at La Mercy is its 3.7km long runway, enabling it to service the largest aircraft in the world, including the Airbus A380. The airport’s passenger and cargo facilities have been designed to manage growth forecasts up to 2060.
Dube Tradeport is a public company established by the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal and funded by the province’s Department of Economic Development. Its mission is to provide a significant economic stimulus and sustainable employment opportunities to the region through the provision of a ‘world class’ new airport and supporting logistics infrastructure.
The 15,800 square metre cargo terminal is expected to handle tens of thousands of tonnes of air cargo and express shipments in its first year of operation and has the long-term capacity to process up to two million tons per annum. The airport will also incorporate a dedicated tradezone for the freight forwarding community, logistics service providers, assemblers, distributors and manufacturers; and an ‘Agri Zone’ that provides glasshouses and post harvest facilities within the Dube Transport precinct for the specific production of high value perishables business for export.
Olivier Bijaoui, Executive Chairman, President & CEO of WFS, said: “We are extremely proud to have concluded this prestigious contract and look forward to building a strong business partnership with Dube Tradeport. This is one of the most impressive and professional new airport projects in the world. The New International Airport at La Mercy clearly recognises the importance of providing world class cargo facilities for its airline and logistics customers. A well-planned, quality-driven cargo infrastructure at such a magnificent new airport will provide the quality of service customers expect, help to boost the local and national economy and attract inward investment.
“In WFS, the New International Airport at La Mercy has chosen a partner that is recognised across the globe for the expertise of our people and the quality of our handling solutions. It is this reputation that has enabled WFS to become the largest cargo handler in the world, handling 3.5 million tons of cargo per year for more than 300 airlines and airports at 120 locations worldwide. The opening of the airport will herald an exciting new era for Durban and for South Africa. It is also the start of an exciting new venture for WFS, representing our first ever airport contract in Africa.”
The general cargo area of the new Dube Tradeport Cargo Terminal is being equipped with a fully automated ETV system supported by the latest barcode processing technology. It also incorporates narrow aisle racking, forklifts, build beds, x-ray equipment, a fully equipped temperature controlled Border Inspection Post (BIP) and a dedicated ‘cool-chain’ storage area.
The terminal will also provide office facilities for local Customs officials, police, security, BIP and agriculture
personnel. This is in addition to a separate ‘freight forwarder village’ for the local cargo agents community that will be linked to the new cargo terminal by an elevated ULD express conveyor system to reduce the number of trucks needing to be handled at the building’s landside freight doors. The first phase of the cargo village will be ready at opening of the new airport and will be know as the Airfreight Logistics Facility.
The significantly enhanced air cargo and logistics infrastructure will provide an important international airbridge for manufacturers located in the province. Car giant Toyota already operates a large manufacturing plant in the region, which also has a high concentration of automotive suppliers that manufacture for the local and global market, including for BMW in Munich. Large freight volumes are also expected to be generated by the local electronics, textiles, chemicals and perishables industries. The objective is to grow these volumes whilst seeking new airfreight opportunities and markets.
Emirates is the first airline to commit to operating from the New International Airport at La Mercy.
Rohan Persad, CEO of Dube TradePort said: “We are very excited to enter into a partnership with WFS to operate the DTP Cargo terminal. This is the first multi-user cargo terminal in South Africa that has been planned with the customs authorities and intends offering users excellent cargo services off a new common user platform that will establish a new operating environment for airlines and freight forwarders.
“WFS is the ideal global partner for DTP to work with to build the air cargo business in KwaZulu-Natal. In this regard, we are already working closely in attracting new international and regional air services to the DTP, working with local industry - both freight forwarders and high value low volume manufacturers - to utilise the efficiencies the DTP Cargo Terminal offers to lower their supply chain costs, and finally, developing a cargo network strategy that will place the DTP Cargo Terminal as the consolidation point for air cargo in the Southern African market.”