Ethiopian Airlines is to invest 32 million euros ($36.5 million) in a cargo terminal at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
The airline has commissioned German firm Unitechnik to build the facility, which will have separate refrigerated and dry storage areas. Cargo handled will include, dry products and fresh goods, such as meat, flowers, and salads.
Once completed it will be the largest cargo terminal in Africa and able to handle around 600,000 tonnes of cargo a year. Ethiopian says it plans on further expanding the facility in the future so it can handle 1.2 million tonnes. Unitechnik designed and built the terminal that Ethiopian now uses at Addis Ababa, which can process 120,000 tonnes a year. The German company says it is building a facility that will, “meet the needs of the future,” and explains: “The combination of automatic and manual systems ensures a high throughput with maximum availability.”
The terminal will be divided into two different and separate temperature controlled zones designed to meet the storage requirements of different items. The zones will be largely identical in structure.
The refrigerated zone will be able to handle temperature sensitive products ranging from two to 10 degrees Celsius. The other zone will be for dry goods. Both zones will consist of an automatic high-bay racking store for unit load devices (ULD). Around 1,000 ULD storage locations will be there.
Unitechnik says the terminal is designed to handle ULDs up to 20 foot (six metres) in size. “Once a cargo aircraft lands, it must be unloaded as quickly as possible. For perishables, preservation of the cold chain is also a top priority,” Unitechnik explains.