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Dubai Airshow’s Cargo Zone highlights key industry changes

The inaugural Cargo Zone conference at Dubai Airshow 2017 celebrated the rise of air freight and growing interest in the sector with leading experts agreeing that the business has undergone a revolution in recent times.

Nabil Sultan, divisional senior vice president, Emirates SkyCargo, said: “The cargo industry is moving towards a major change in the way it is conducted. The days of simply moving cargo from A to B are gone. Specialisation is now part and parcel of what we do.

“Today, we must understand each vertical industry, the stress points and provide solutions, not just space. There has been a revolution in the way we look at cargo.”

He told delegates how Emirates SkyCargo analysed every single vertical sector it serves, to create a service over and above simply transporting cargo, a true supply chain solution. He highlighted that cargo can be shifted between Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport in under five hours by a fleet of bonded trucks.

Glyn Hughes, Global Head of Cargo, IATA, speaking from an international air cargo perspective, revealed that air freight accounted for $5.9bn of cargo moved in 2016; some 35% of global trade.

He said: “Today air cargo is the premium cargo movement method. We have seen accelerated growth in the last year and a decline in ocean freight. In fact, the growth rate of air cargo is increasing faster than that of global trade.

“An order for 10,000 shoes goes in a container on a ship. But 10,000 shoes ordered by individual shoppers will go by air freight. The industry has moved on from moving boxes. It’s all about solutions for all commodity types. The industry’s success relies on global connectivity, so it’s good to see airlines investing in new aircraft and routes, especially here at the Dubai Airshow.”

The one day event saw leaders in the field, including Dubai Airports, Emirates Group Security, DNATA, FANR, Dubai Police, Smiths Detection, Aramex, Kuehne + Nagel, and AAR Corporation discussing the future of the air cargo industry in a series of frank and open panel discussions.

Michele van Akelijen, managing director of organisers, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, said: “Today’s event highlighted the growing success and importance of the cargo sector, which, according to IATA, is growing 4.1% per annum, led by the Middle East and Africa. As Emirates SkyCargo relocates its freight operations to Al Maktoum International Airport, we will see this strategically located hub open even more doors for business into Europe, Africa and Asia.”