In Belgium Emirates SkyCargo serves both Brussels and Liege, although they are but 100 kilometers apart. Still, both are attractive, Robert Siegel, Vice-President for Europe and Russia told CargoForwarder Global.
“We have been at LGG for many years”, says Robert. “In close collaboration with TNT we fly from Liege to Dubai and New York. We came to Brussels only 3 years ago with a passenger operation, which
was very soon supported by freighters. The initial 4 B777-F flights have been doubled to 8.”
Following the ongoing merger between TNT and FedEx, the former has been compelled to dispose of its own airline operation. TNT Aviation was sold to ASL Aviation, for 51% owned by the Belgian ship-owning group CMB. Robert Siegel is convinced that this will not have any consequences on the present route sharing. “These operations will continue as they are.”
Global connectivity through Dubai hub
The main commodity taken out from Belgium is pharmaceuticals, together with general cargo, as well as hatching eggs and car parts. Through its main hub in Dubai Emirates SkyCargo can link the Belgian and European market directly, connecting it with the rest of its network in the Middle and Far East and the Indian Subcontinent.
“Apart from the Middle East our main markets are situated in the Indian subcontinent and the Far East or rather: Australasia. We have introduced services to two airports in the Philippines, to Clark International Airport at Luzon and to Mactan Cebu International Airport. We also fly to two destinations in China, and to places like Hanoi in Vietnam and to Yangon (Rangoon) in Myanmar. I think there are a lot of opportunities there for the Belgian market.”
Pharmaceuticals at the forefront
As for the products, the company’s main focus for the years ahead will be on pharmaceuticals and temperature-sensitive shipments, says Robert. “We have invested in this specialty, not only in dedicated warehouses in Dubai, but also in cool dollies for both tarmac transport and active on-aircraft cooling. This is why we can ensure an unbroken cool chain as required by the shippers.”
At Brussels Airport Emirates SkyCargo decided to set up its own cargo team instead of subcontracting its business to a GSSA. Robert Siegel: “Our common policy consists in working with a GSSA in off-line stations and setting up our own team once we fly directly.” In spite of the increased focus on pharmaceuticals, the company has not yet joined the dedicated Pharma community created at Brussels Airport. “I cannot give any details on that yet. We are looking into it.”
They fly horses, don’t they?
Robert is eager to point out that the transport of live horses is another specialty of Emirates SkyCargo. “This has grown into an important niche market for us. We have recently flown horses from Brussels to Hong Kong. Of course, Liege Airport is specialized much on horse transport and the recent opening of the Horse Inn is a very good thing indeed. It is better for the horses as well as for the shippers. So I think that for this specialized ‘commodity’ our focus will be on LGG. We have built up quite a good reputation in this niche and have set up a good relationship with the shippers, bringing us a good reputation.”
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels