Dube TradePort invests millions in truck project
16 November 2011
DUBE TradePort has invested about R12 million in a fleet of six trucks that brings cargo from different parts of the country to be exported out of King Shaka International Airport to bolster its air cargo business.
It is still early days, but Dube TradePort’s aeronautical projects executive, Ahmed Bassa, said the idea was to use the new fleet as a value-added service to support the cargo terminal. This is part of the provincial agency’s bigger plans to establish the facility as an air cargo trade gateway to South Africa and in the longer term to the Southern African Development Community.
“We have several freight companies that deal with Dube TradePort through our operators of the cargo terminal, French-based World Flight Services. This specialised airport trucking service, fully branded with Dube TradePort livery and called Dube airoad, will not operate in the general trucking industry and thus is not in competition. It is aimed to facilitate air cargo out of Durban, thus essentially creating new and more business for the cargo terminal,” he said.
“We have six trucks with track and trace technology and Euro Emissions 5 ratings, which means lower emissions. Four of the trucks will operate long-distance and one is refrigerated. They go to places like Port Elizabeth, East London, Cape Town and even Joburg to send cargo out of Dube TradePort.
“Obviously we will also bring cargo in, but as part of our mandate to develop exports and trade, we are especially targeting industries like auto component manufacturers. We want to make it viable for such industries in the Eastern Cape and KZN to be able to export faster by air out of Dube TradePort,” said Bassa.
“We are looking at various sectors and regions, including neighbouring provinces and countries, for opportunities to transport cargo out of Dube TradePort. Our research also shows that between 48 000 to 68 000 tons of air cargo that originates out of KZN is transported to Joburg and then flown out. We want this cargo to go out of Dube TradePort,” he said.
An aerial view of the Dube TradePort cargo terminal, showing the inventive overhead conveyer bridge that transports cargo from the terminal to an adjoining building.
Bassa said the Dube airoad airport trucking service was officially launched during the Air Cargo Summit in September, which was sponsored by Emirates’ SkyCargo division and hosted by Dube TradePort.
He said with Dubai-based airline Emirates’ strong support of Dube TradePort’s vision to develop the trade port as South Africa’s new trade gateway and airfreight hub, one of Dube airoad’s trucks had been branded with the colours and emblem of Emirates SkyCargo.
“Emirates have shown confidence in Durban and the Dube TradePort vision, and came in even before the airport and trade port was built.
“They came in ahead of the opening of King Shaka International, but the move was a direct result of our investment in the airport.
“With imminent plans for a bigger plane on the current route or a second daily flight, the old airport would not have had the kind of infrastructure and seamless facilities that we have at Dube TradePort,” he said.
The Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 747 long-range freighter, which landed at King Shaka airport with 110 tons of off-shore drilling equipment destined for use in the Durban harbour.
“Emirates have put their faith in us and we wanted to recognise their effort, so we decided to co-brand one of our trucks with Emirates SkyCargo.
“Their daily flight out of King Shaka International is doing unbelievably well with great passenger load factors. Various cargos are handled on this flight in the underbelly of the plane and we want to develop this further with increased capacity on the cards,” he said.
Last year the airline also brought in a dedicated Emirates SkyCargo freighter plane twice to the Cargo Terminal.
In June it brought in 117 tons of general merchandise because of delays at the harbour, and in September 110 tons of offshore drilling equipment destined for the Durban harbour.
“These were special flights, but ultimately in the future we want to have regular Emirates SkyCargo freighter flights operating out of Dube TradePort,” said Bassa.
Ricardo Isaacs, Emirates SkyCargo manager at Dube TradePort, said the airline was proud of its relationship with the provincial agency and to have its brand so powerfully endorsed.
“This is the first ever endorsement and branding of this type for an international carrier in South Africa, so it is hugely momentous for Emirates,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bassa said Dube TradePort had invested about R200 million in the cargo terminal and related equipment since opening last year.
This includes the trucks, new cargo handling equipment and an air-bridge conveyer system that connects the cargo terminal with a Dube TradePort building for airfreight forwarding companies, among other equipment.