While much of the world is still reeling from the sharp decline in cargo volumes, Dubai International Airport has recorded only a small decline in cargo throughput of 0.76 per cent for the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year. And, it is likely to end the year on the same levels as last year, a senior executive of Dubai Airports said.
In the first half of 2009, the airport moved 874,828 tonnes of cargo compared to 2008 when it handled 1.83 million tonnes of cargo which was up 9.4 per cent from 2007.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We record an increase one month and a decrease in another. At the end of the year, I expect the total air cargo handled to be between 1.7 to 1.8 million tonnes, almost the same tonnage that Dubai handled last year,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dubai Airports, VP cargo unit, Ali Al Jallaf told Emirates Business.
Almost 60 to 70 per cent of the total cargo handled at Dubai International is transhipment cargo, said Al Jallaf. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dubai offers a lot of flexibility to shippers as it is EmiratesÃ¢â‚¬™ hub and, therefore, cargo can be shipped to any part of the world,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He said though many sectors such as the real estate and construction are down, there is trading activity taking place in Dubai, which has resulted in the smaller declines for the cargo industry.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dubai is like a shopping mall that offers products from different countries. It is also a large wholesale market that caters to traders from within this region and Africa,Ã¢â‚¬Â Al Jallaf said adding that it was easier for buyers to source from Dubai than going to a source market like China where consignments would have to be larger in scale.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A lot of cargo for Africa goes by air as many of the African countries donÃ¢â‚¬™t have sea access and the road network is bad. So they rather pay more and feel safe,Ã¢â‚¬Â Al Jallaf said, adding that a worldwide shift to smaller consignments from large shipments by buyers will benefi t the air cargo industry.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Earlier, they were ordering seven to 10 containers and storing the products in warehouses,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Now because of the financial crisis most traders are ordering smaller quantities and are bringing the consignments in by air, Al Jallaf said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So air cargo has benefi ted from these smaller consignments.Ã¢â‚¬Â
With Dubai International having a total cargo handling capacity of 2.6 million tonnes, Al Jallaf said the turnaround time is 90 minutes and transfer time is six hours for full container load movement between the quayside at Port Rashid or Jebel Ali and the apron at Dubai Cargo Village.