The Doha-based carrier intends adding a second cargo center to its existing facility. Once operational, QR Cargo’s handling capacity at its home base would enable an annual throughput of almost 3 million tons.
Big is beautiful. That seems to be the basic philosophy of Qatar Airways Cargo, determining all aspects of its strategy. With remarkable success, as figures prove. Says head of cargo Uli
Ogiermann: “In 2014 sales were up by 30 percent; we met our budget and improved yields.” Similar results he expects for the current year.
“In January, we have become the fifth largest cargo carrier by sales, surpassing some very renowned airlines,” he proudly states.
An ascent that will continue predominantly based on the Arabian carrier’s offensive fleet policy. “More capacity is constantly coming in, offering us additional market opportunities,” states Uli. “In total, we are talking about 40 additional passenger aircraft that will join our fleet this year.” It’s a mix of A350s, Boeing 787s and 777s. “This fleet expansion will also give our cargo biz an additional and much wanted push, with the A350s carrying up to 20 tons per flight and the Triple Sevens even as many as 30 tons, depending on the number of travelers and their luggage.”
New cargo building
Due to this, QR Cargo has decided to build an additional warehouse next to the existing facility at Doha Hamad International. The forthcoming building will enable a throughput of 1.5 million tons per year, almost doubling the total handling capacity for cargo. “In view of our ongoing growth we need the additional facility that will be equipped with different cool rooms for storing and processing the fast rising number of temperature sensitive items we carry on board our aircraft.” Asked about the developer he says that this has not been finally decided yet. The existing cargo center, built by a German firm was inaugurated only 2.5 years ago, when newly built Hamad International was kicked off. Enabling a yearly turnover of up to 1.4 million tons it is obviously getting too small already due to QR Cargo’s unprecedented growth.
QR Cargo operates Reefer trucks on-airport
Further to this Uli points out that QR Cargo continuous its strategy of product differentiation, focusing very much on pharma transports. States the manager: “Meanwhile, 56 of our stations have been certified for pharma throughput. We run a dedicated freighter service linking important pharmaceutical centers like Brussels and Basel with our main hub Doha, from where most of the shipments are transited to India and some other final destinations.
To fast process the temperature critical shipments and prevent the sensitive contents of the cool containers to heat up in the often extremely hot Qatari environment QR Cargo acquired a fleet of more than 30 reefer trucks. These vehicles guarantee constant temperatures for as many as 4 hours within their holds, no matter how many centigrade are measured outside their interior.
More reefer trucks to come
“Right after an aircraft has arrived at Doha Airport the temperature critical goods are immediately loaded on board our reefer trucks, parking alongside the aircraft,” Uli explains. In case of transits they are forwarded directly to the connecting flight. However, should they have to stay for more than four hours at Hamad International they are forwarded to the cargo center and stored temporarily in the cool rooms of the facility.
“Since we focus very much on pharma and other highly perishable goods and in view of our fleet groth we intend to up our fleet of reefer trucks at Doha Airport,” Herr Ogiermann explained at Munich’s trade show Air Cargo Europe while speaking with CargoForwarder Global.