Aviacargo team visits Addis Ababa, Nairobi airports


By Chukwuemeke Iwelunmo

A team of Aviacargo business in Nigeria led by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Kabir Mohammed has visited leading air cargo airports in Africa to benchmark their services.

Kenya currently leads Africa in Air Cargo Business while Nigeria is ranked fifth. The Aviacargo Roadmap committee was set up by FAAN to design a plan that would catapult Nigeria to the first position in the shortest possible time.

To meet this target, the FAAN team had to find out what the other airports have done well and why Nigeria had failed despite its huge economy, production capacity, and population.

The Benchmarking visits done in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) enabled the officials from Nigeria to engage with stakeholders in the cargo ecosystems in both countries. There were facility tours of equipment, terminals, and transit sheds in both countries.

The FAAN team was led by the Director of Commercial and Business Development, Olumyiwa Femi-Pearse. Also included on the trip are the Chief of Staff to the Managing Director, the staff of Business Development, and cargo departments, the company secretary and Legal Adviser, the coordinator of the Aviacargo Roadmap committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko, and two other members of the Aviacargo committee.

Legal Issues concerning airports as Free Trade Zones were raised with Ethiopian and Kenyan officials and how those issues have been resolved in both Countries.

The proliferation and attendant charges by agencies at the airports were discussed during the stakeholders’ engagements with both the Government and private sector players.

The team went through a detailed tour of all the air cargo facilities available at Bole Airport Addis Ababa.

The tour was led by the MD of Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, Mr. Abel Alemu, and his team. It included tours to the Cold Chain, pharma, Perishable, and dry goods sections. The technological Modernisation and the E-Commerce projects were of Interest to the Nigerian Team

In Kenya, the Nigerian Team was received by the Acting Managing Director of the Kenya Airport Authority Henry Og.

The Nigerian Team was taken around the leading Cargo Transit Sheds by the Operators of the Terminals. They visited Dry Cargo Sheds, Perishable goods Sheds, Flower export Sheds, Fruit export Sheds, and Others.

The Aviacargo team rounded up the Tour with visits to Nigerian Embassies in Ethiopia and Kenya where they exchanged ideas with the diplomats on opportunities for Cargo in both Countries.

The team was received at the Nigerian Embassy in Addis Ababa by Dr. Geoffrey Chima on behalf of the Ambassador.

The Team Leader, Femi-Pearse told the Nigerian High Commissioner in Kenya Ambassador, Yusuf Yunusa that this fact-finding visit is an eye-opener for Nigeria.

“We have identified the Gaps in Knowledge and Facilities. We are going back to implement some of the lessons learnt. Nigeria will become a major player in Air Cargo Business in a very Short time”.

The Coordinator of the Aviacargo Roadmap committee, Uko while thanking the Embassy for receiving the Team said, “FAAN should be commended for driving this Process. Everyone talks about loaded cargo planes arriving in Nigeria and leaving empty but nobody did anything to solve the problem.”

“FAAN stepped in with the Aviacargo project and now we are here. This exposure alone is part of the Solution. Now we know what we are not doing well. We will soon round up this phase of the Project. I want to tell you Sir that FAAN has allocated 2.7 hectares of Land for the Cargo village. Based on what we have seen here the land is small but it is a step in the right direction. Nigeria will get there soon.”

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