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Dubai World Central's emergence as a cargo hub received a further boost with Emirates SkyCargo deciding to shift the operations of its freighter fleet from Dubai International Airport to the Al Maktoum Airport from May 1 this year. With the passenger fleet belly cargo operations continuing to operate from Dubai International Airport, dedicated road feeder services between the two airports will be introduced.
One of the leading air cargo carriers, Cathay Pacific, already operates its freighter services from Al Maktoum Airport. More than 35 cargo operators are already currently using the DWC facilities.
A reason for its popularity is its easy access to Jebel Ali Port by road which ensures a smooth transfer of air-to-sea and sea-to-air cargo. However there was a 4.5 percent drop in total volumes of cargo handled in 2013 from 2012 which has been attributed to fluctuations in chartered cargo flights. On the bright side, air freight volumes grew by 15.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 63,028 tons of cargo passing through the facility, compared to 54,336 tons recorded during the same period in 2012.
Phase 1 of the construction at the airport is fully complete, and it currently has the capacity to handle 600,000 tonnes of cargo per year. Phase 2 of the airport, which includes the construction of an additional two automated and one non-automated cargo terminals, is currently under way. This is expected to increase the facility's total cargo capacity to 1.4 million tons per annum. When fully completed, a total volume of 12 million tons of cargo can pass through the airport.
Despite the emergence of the new airport, Dubai International Airport continued to show growth in cargo volumes in 2013. A total of 2.44 million tons of cargo were recorded in 2013, showing an annual growth of 6.4 percent.
• Emirates SkyCargo freighter fleet to operate from Al Maktoum Airport
• The airport saw a 4.5% annual decline in air cargo volume in 2013
• Once done, about 12 million tons of cargo can pass through it
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties, gulfnews.com
The writer is a freelancer