TAM Cargo Upgrades Ground Infrastructure

Last week, the Brazilian member of the LATAM Group inaugurated a modernized and enlarged cargo terminal at Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport. It is the latest project in a series of new or rebuilt warehouses at major Brazilian airports built on behalf of TAM’s air freight arm. More are to follow.

TAM Cargo’s modernized handling facility for domestic cargo throughput  /  source: TAM Cargo
TAM Cargo’s modernized handling facility for domestic cargo throughput / source: TAM Cargo

The facility that just went online at Guarulhos Airport (GRU) offers15,000 sqm floor space for processing goods, thus 5,200 sqm additional surface space compared to the previous warehouse. It is exclusively utilized by the airline for handling its domestic volumes, excluding any import or export shipments. 

Largest and most modern warehouse
In total, the building features 14 entry doors for incoming cargo, each of them equipped with individual scales and 12 exit doors, all with height-adjustable boarding platforms. 14 metal storage platforms have been installed in its interior. States TAM Cargo proudly: “This is the largest and most modern cargo terminal that LATAM Airlines Group owns in Brazil, with a capacity to handle more than 1,000 tons of cargo daily.” The carrier emphasizes that the facility allows for the simultaneous handling of cargo transported by either freighters or passenger aircraft. In total, it represents a significant improvement to the previous air freight terminal at Guarulhos, say airline officials.
At the new facility, electronic products, car parts and machines in general, as well as perishables, are among the most commonly handled items, mainly catering to the markets in North and Northeastern Brazil.

Improving the product quality
Comments TAM Cargo’s Executive Director Luis Quintiliano: “The new terminal is part of our investment plan in technology, security and infrastructure, which will total R$94 million (€27.0 million) by 2016. All efforts are aimed at improving our services and offering the best products, in accordance with our customers’ needs and profile.”
On domestic routes, his airline transported 216,000 tons last year.
Based on an electronic identification system, the entire cargo movement process within the warehouse has been automated, speeding up the processes and reducing handling mishaps. Due to bar-coding shipments their individual storage place at stackers is immediately visible, thus allowing for products to be located and retrieved by electronic data transmission.
Another novelty is a large cold-storage chamber, with a total surface area of 900 m³ and 76 rack positions, designed to store all sorts of perishables, including fish and pharmaceuticals.

Direct access to the apron
According to TAM Cargo, R$38 million (€10.91mio.) have been spent for enhancing the Guarulho-located warehouse.
The facility offers direct access to the airport’s tarmac. However, because Guarulhos is a large airport with several terminals, trucks are used to transport cargo from the tarmac to the warehouse, and vice-versa.
Responsible for handling the goods are TAM Cargo’s own staff, working hand in hand with a ground support team that is managing the transfer of shipments from the warehouse to the stands of the aircraft, respectively in the opposite direction.

Different warehouse for international freight
The carrier’s international air freight is handled at a different warehouse owned by the local customs authority and managed separately.  “Brazilian exports that are destined to any international destination are brought directly to the customs facilities at Guarulhos, without touching TAM Cargo’s domestic warehouse,” explains a spokesperson of the airline.
In 2014, a total of 255,000 tons of international cargo was turned over at GRU, surpassing 2013 figures by 7,000 tons, despite an overall contracting market. This growth trend consolidated Guarulho’s number one position among Brazil’s airports, accounting for 36% of the country’s entire market share in imports and exports of air freight.

Enhancement program is on track
TAM Cargo’s investment in terminal infrastructure started in 2013, with the inauguration of the Cargo Terminal in Manaus and continued in 2014, with Goiania, Natal together with improvements made in 19 other terminals. In 2015, apart from the Cargo Terminal at Guarulhos, the Company will complete the works at Uberlandia, Ribeirao Preto and Sorocaba.
TAM Cargo expects to inaugurate the terminals at Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Brasilia and Fortaleza by the end of 2016.

Heiner Siegmund

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