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IATA lauds Ethiopian air cargo business transformation
Celine Hourcade, IATA head of cargo transformation

IATA lauds Ethiopian air cargo business transformation

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) lauded Ethiopian Airlines for transforming its air cargo transport business.

At the IATA annual cargo media day held on December 5 in Geneva, Switzerland executives of the association said that Ethiopian has made a huge investment on new cargo terminal and acquiring modern cargo aircraft. Celine Hourcade, IATA head of cargo transformation, said that Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services has invested heavily in transforming its cargo infrastructure. Hourcade noted that Ethiopian Cargo has embraced e-freight and e-AWB (Airway Bill).  

With eight dedicated cargo aircraft-six B777-200F and two B757-200F- and a daily up lift capacity of 8,672 tons Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services is the largest cargo operator in Africa. The fastest growing airline in Africa last month announced that it has placed a firm order for four Boeing B777 freighter aircraft at the Dubai Airshow. With the capacity to uplift 100 tons of cargo at a time the B777F is the world’s largest and longest-range twin engine cargo jet. The deal is valued at USD 1.3 billion at list prices.

Last June Ethiopian inaugurated a state of the art cargo terminal built at its main hub Addis Ababa at a cost of 150 million USD.

 Built on 150,000 sq. m of land the new cargo terminal has the capacity to handle 600,000 tons of cargo per annum. The existing cargo terminal has the capacity to handle 350,000 tons of cargo yearly. The cargo terminal now has the capacity to accommodate close to one million tons of freight.  

The new Cargo Terminal includes facilities such as Dry Cargo Terminal Warehouse, Perishable Cargo Terminal with Cool Chain Storage, fully automated with latest technology ETV (Elevating Transport Vehicle), G+2 office building, apron area which accommodates 5 additional big freighter aircraft, sufficient truck parking apron as well as employees canteen and wash rooms. The new Cargo Terminal is also fitted with different climate chambers for storage and handling of temperature sensitive products such as fresh agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, and life Science Products.  

A case study undertaken by IATA indicated that Ethiopia has dramatically moved up the global value chain by diversifying from exporting raw cotton to apparel and garments. “Between 2010-2015 Ethiopia’s textile and clothing industry grew 51 percent, supported by the country’s strong air cargo services linking Ethiopian products with international buyers rapidly and reliably,” the study said. Adding that customs modernization and embracing e-cargo adoption has helped facilitate the significant growth.

Fistum Abadi, Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services Managing Director, told The Reporter that his company is now transporting 343,000 tons of cargo every year generating 10 billion birr revenue. According to Ethiopian 15-year growth road map dubbed Vision 2025, Ethiopian Cargo will have 19 dedicated freighter aircraft (11 B777, four B767-300 and four B737-800) which can transport 820,000 tons of cargo generating two billion dollars of revenue flying to 57 destinations. It now serves 39 international cargo destinations.

Fitsum said Ethiopian Cargo is a pioneer not only in Africa but in the world in migrating its freight business transaction to e-freight and e-AWB. Ethiopian Cargo has fully implemented e-freight and undertaking 78 percent of its business through e-AWB. 

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told The Reporter that with double digit GDP growth and ongoing industrialization process, Ethiopia badly needs an integrated logistics services. “The logistics sector should prepare itself to handle the growing import and export sector,” Tewolde said.                       

To that end, Ethiopian Cargo has already partnered with DHL, a global forwarding company to enter into the multi modal logistics business.  

Celine Hourcade told The Reporter that with fast economic growth and growing middle class population Africa has an immense potential to grow its air cargo transport.          

Head quartered in Geneva, Switzerland IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines. The association has 250 member airlines worldwide operating 84 percent of global air traffic.