Durban's international cargo volumes in quarter 3 increased by 13.7% when compared to the same period last year; this is on the back of the highest ever recorded cargo throughput during the months of October and November 2017, which exceeded the 1,700 tonne mark per month for the first time.
This growth has been primarily driven by the introduction of additional wide-bodied passenger flights into Durban, as well as the increased frequency of chartered aircraft using Durban's King Shaka International Airport.
"Investment in a new specialised outsized cargo handling facility has significantly contributed to our ability to handle bulky shipments, such as large pipes, machinery, vehicles, large animals and even ocean-going 20-foot containers. This infrustructure, as well as the systems that we have in place, has enabled our supply-chain specialists to respond quickly to the needs of our freight forwarders by providing them with a reliable and competitive solution for their charters flying into Durban," says Mr Mlibo Bantwini, Executive, Dube Cargo Terminal.
The latest chartered aircraft handled by Dube Cargo Terminal was a Boeing 747-400ERF freighter, operated by AirBridgeCargo Airlines, which had a payload of 30 tonnes of heavy duty seaflex marine hoses.
Dube Cargo Terminal has demonstrated a positive trend over the last seven years since the airport opened in 2010, with cargo volumes having grown by 138%. Cargo volumes are still forecast to grow by up to 12% by the close of the 2017/18 Financial Year.
Further growth is anticipated at Durban's King Shaka International Airport as Qatar Airways has announced its intentions to increase its capacity on the Durban - Doha route with the introduction of the larger Boeing 777-300ER aircraft as of 28 March 2018, which will bring on board an additional 416 weekly seats on its four times weekly schedule, while further increasing the weekly cargo capacity on the route by 15-23 tonnes per flight.
In October, Air Mauritius increased its frequency to three flights per week on its Durban - Port Louis route, while the peak season of December and January spurred Emirates to increase its frequency on the Durban - Dubai route.