Dubai-based cargo airline Emirates SkyCargo’s cargo terminal was officially inaugurated on November 10 by chairperson and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum at Dubai South’s Logistics District, further establishing Dubai as a leading global air cargo and logistics hub.
The facility, officially unveiled on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show, was dubbed Emirates SkyCentral and is the home of Emirates SkyCargo’s fleet of 15 freighter aircraft. The event was attended by a number of dignitaries, including members of Dubai’s executive council, representatives from various local authorities, members of Emirates’ senior management, as well as local and international media.
Guests and media who attended the official opening event were taken on a tour of the facility and shown the various features and unique aspects of the terminal, from the centralised screening and integrated police facility, to the cool chain areas that occupy 15 000 m2, offering dedicated storage areas for goods requiring varying temperature ranges. The facility also features fully automated materials handling and quick dolly transfer systems, which enable the simultaneous quick transfer of six unit load devices.
Emirates SkyCentral is 77 km from Dubai International Airport (DXB) – a convenient location with factories and forwarders in the surrounding areas and close to a dedicated corridor that leads to the Jebel Ali port and the United Arab Emirates free zone.
The terminal also has a dedicated freighter facility and, with 12 aircraft standing directly in front of the terminal, one of its key features is the close proximity of aircraft to the receiving docks, which enables quick movement of goods. The freighters that operate from Emirates SkyCentral fly to more than 50 destinations worldwide.
Emirates notes that, since Emirates SkyCentral first became operational in May 2014, the movement of cargo between the two airports has become a seamless process and is now firmly integrated into its operations, with a transit time of just five hours between the arrival of goods and their departure from the freighter to the belly-hold, and vice-versa.
Emirates SkyCargo’s belly-hold cargo is being managed at its Cargo Mega Terminal at DXB, while freighter cargo is managed at Dubai World Central. Cargo is moved 24/7 by truck between the two airports through a bonded virtual corridor.
The cargo terminal has 47 trucks that ply the virtual corridor between the two airports; each truck is equipped with satellite tracking to ensure the safety and security of cargo and staff.
“The opening of Emirates SkyCentral is an important milestone for us, as it represents our vision for future growth and firmly establishes Emirates SkyCargo as the world’s leading air cargo carrier across all of Emirates’ operational areas,” said divisional senior VP for cargo Nabil Sultan at the unveiling ceremony.
He added that the space allocated to Emirates SkyCentral at Dubai South is part of a much bigger area that the company occupies. This space can therefore be developed over time to increase the cargo-handling capacity to achieve Emirates’ vision of 12-million tonnes a year by 2050, from the current 2.3-million tonnes.
Sultan further highlighted that this facility also features the best and latest of what the air cargo industry has to offer, enabling Emirates to give its customers a world-class, efficient and seamless service no matter what their requirements. It further establishes Dubai as a leading global air cargo hub, which has the advantage of being a strategic location in the centre of trade between the East and the West.
“It takes a lot of work to bring a facility like this to reality, and I want to thank everyone for their support and commitment in making it happen, from the government of Dubai and its various departments, to the contractors and staff of Emirates SkyCargo,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dubai South logistics VP Mohsen Ahmed pointed out that, with the launch of the Emirates SkyCargo facility, Dubai South begins an exciting new chapter in its journey towards establishing Dubai’s excellence as a logistics hub. Ahmed further noted that Dubai South offers the ideal connection point for sea and air cargo, which calls for rapid migration to the Middle Eastern, Asian and African markets.