It’s not that often that we witness an airline and an airport give a joint presentation on their products.
A welcome exception was the workshop arranged on July 8th in Duesseldorf between Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways Cargo and the cargo division of Duesseldorf airport. The interesting views that have been voiced on the topic and the outcome of the meeting we present in two parts.
The workshop which was attended by almost 40 freight agents and shippers was to present their individual systems for the handling of pharmaceutical and other temperature sensitive products.
However, there were many notable comparisons in their presentations.
To top it off, they were also joined by va-Q-tec who are one of the leaders in supplying high-tech temperature controlled containers to shippers and airlines.
It’s hot down in the Gulf
Etihad Airways calls daily at DUS with one of its Airbus A330 passenger aircraft which offers considerable cargo uplift on the relatively short flight of 6 hours to Abu Dhabi.
This cargo capacity is supplemented by Etihad’s daily code share flight from Air Berlin, also with an A330.
Julian Sutch, Manager, Cargo Product Pharmaceutical at Etihad gave his public an eye opening insight into the recently revamped cooling facilities at AUH as well as a view of a new cooling area which will be part of the cargo set-up at the new airport in the future.
Etihad Cargo moved around 596.000 tons of freight in 2014 generating revenue of one billion US$. This figure represents 20 percent of Etihad’s total revenues.
The present cargo fleet totals 10 aircraft. Three B777Fs, three B747Fs and four A330Fs.
On top of this comes their long haul passenger fleet of more than 100 widebodies, which offer considerable tonnage capacity in their holds.
The new cargo terminal which is meant to be in operation as of 2017 will be able to handle 2.5 million tons per annum.
Etihad Cargo markets four distinct brand names.
Namely: Safe Guard, Fast Track, Sky Stables and Temp Check.
It is the Temp Check product which Julian Sutch presented in DUS.
Pharmaceuticals also play an important role within Etihad Cargo and that is why Mr Sutch came on board in AUH to design and put an effective Cool Handling operation into effect.
It is well known that the new airport along with an ultra modern cargo terminal is slated to be in operation in a few years from now.
However, Etihad Cargo had to find an interim solution to give pharmaceuticals and other temperature sensitive goods better cooling facilities and more effective means of protecting these goods on the ramp as well as on the way to the aircraft.
First step for Julian and his team was to have the present facilities totally refurbished.
Cool Room 1 which has a capacity for 24 PMC’s and a temperature control between +2C - +8C was refurbished by the end of March this year.
Cool Room 2 which is a palletised rack room with capacity for up to 200 pallets as well as loose cargo was completed already by January 31st this year.
Here, goods can temperature controlled between +15C-+25C depending on individual needs.
There is another room, named CT-03 which can take the overflow, transit cargo or allow emergency storage for a further 2 - 8 PMC’s.
Although these cooling facilities will be replaced by those in the new cargo terminal, Etihad has spared no cost in fitting them out with modern systems.
Exclusive trucks and dollies are used for transporting temperature sensitive cargo to and from the aircraft. A dedicated “cool team” has been formed and trained and whose only priority is to ensure a seamless storage, handling and transport to and from the aircraft.
Active containers from companies such as va-Q-tec, CSafe Pharma Port and Envirotainer are used by Etihad Cargo.
The carrier has also designed, in cooperation with Silverskin, its own so called Passive Solution which is basically a new high density thermo cover for pallets. It has been successfully tested on the ramp and stays on the pallet from origin to destination.
The carrier presently has fourty of these blankets which can, in a worst case scenario still protect pallets for 45 minutes when standing in +45C conditions.
The cooling facilities at the new Cargo Village will be grouped into one building which will have a throughput capacity of 7,000 tons and a total storage space of 200 cubic metres.
The new cargo terminal will be even more sophisticated than the present one and the cooling facilities will be grouped under one roof whereas today they are situated in three separate buildings.
It’s certainly getting cooler down in Abu Dhabi!
And - just as hot in DUS
Duesseldorf airport although handling less tonnage than AUH, was not to be backstaged by the Etihad presentation and Thomas Schuermann, Manager of Cargo Sales & Marketing gave the attendants an impressive view of what has been accomplished in DUS in a very short time in order to set up their own state-of-the-art cooling facility.
Admittedly, not so large as that in AUH, but in many ways just as refined.
Whereas temperatures can average +45C in AUH, DUS does not generally exceed +30C. However the need for professional cooling facilities is just as necessary in both cities.
John Mc Donagh
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